Fire destroys police officer's house in Fort Payne

The fire on the morning of Christmas Eve destroyed everything the family owns.

Posted: Dec 24, 2019 12:25 PM
Updated: Dec 24, 2019 8:27 PM

A GoFundMe has raised thousands of dollars for a family that lost everything in a house fire on Christmas Eve. One of the family members is one of Fort Payne's own police sergeants.

J.C. Brown and his family woke up early Tuesday morning to a fire in their home. He, his wife, and 3 children made it out of the home, but are now asking the community for items to get them through the holiday season.

WAAY 31 spoke with one woman in the community who has already started collecting donations for the family.

"Here on Christmas Eve... to lose all their gifts and everything is all gone," says Jody Smith, who lives nearby.

"I know they're devastated with their 3 children to not be able to have their christmas so we're gonna try to help them every way we can to make their Christmas," adds Smith.

Smith raised more than $600 worth of gift cards for the Brown family.

"It could be me the same as it was them and I know this community would do the same for me," says Smith.

The Brown's home is a total loss. The fire burned through part of the roof, shattering windows, and leaving nothing but the structural frame behind. Around 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, emergency vehicles woke up Smith and her neighbors.

"I noticed all the medics and stuff and fire trucks and new that something was wrong," she says. "I know that they have to be devastated. I know I would. Any time this would happen would be devastating."

She says Fort Payne is coming together to help the Brown family because they lost everything.

"We're a very close neighborhood and try to stick together to help each other regardless of what the need is," says Smith.

Smith is continuing to collect money for the family in her own community. The Fort Payne Police Department is asking people to donate clothing and other essential items for the family at their dispatch center.

The Bown's currently have temporary housing during the holiday season.

WAAY 31 reached out to the fire marshal and police chief to see how the fire started and we are waiting to hear back.


Police in Fort Payne are asking for donations after a fire destroyed the home of one of their own early Tuesday morning. On Facebook, the police department said the fire ripped through Sgt. JC Brown's home. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Police have asked us not to release the location of the police officer's house for safety reasons.

Everyone made it out of the home but everything inside was destroyed. In the Facebook post, police say the community is showing an outpouring of support for Brown and his family. The department is using its dispatch center as a collection point. The family has temporary housing and essential supplies but will need clothing in the coming days. The Facebook post also lists the clothing size of everyone in the family.

JC-36/32 pants, XL shirt, XL underwear, 11 shoes
Wife-10 pants, Med or Large top, Med underwear, Bra 34C, 7.5 shoes
17-year-old boy, 30/30 pants, Med shirt, Med underwear, 10 shoes
13-year-old boy,12 pants,12/14 pants, Med underwear, 8.5 shoes
10-year-old girl 10 pants, small top, 3 or 4 shoes

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