A family in Jackson County is trying to get their lives back together after a fire destroyed their home on Monday.
Wylene Lathan sifted through the rubble, hoping to find anything that survived the inferno that gutted her home near Alford.
Her husband could barely breathe when he awoke around 3 a.m. to smoke and flames. He escaped with only his cell phone.
“He came out of the bedroom door; it was just like the whole house was already full of smoke and he managed to get out the front door. When he did, apparently the house had already been burning for awhile,” Wylene says.
Joshua Williams, a nephew, responded to the fire and couldn't believe his eyes.
“I think it took us four and a half minutes to get there,” Williams says. “As soon as we topped the hill on 231, wow, we could see flames from the trees and that’s when everything started setting in on what house it was.”
Fortunately, Wylene’s two daughters were staying with relatives and were not home at the time. However, the family's betafish did not survive.
Even though they lost everything, they feel very fortunate to be alive. “It was just unbelievable; our house, something where you've lived for 22 years. I just couldn't believe it was our house.”
The Lathan's are hoping the goodness of family, friends and community will help them rebuild their lives.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
The Lathan family is staying with family members and has insurance to help with costs. However, since they lost everything, they could use immediate help with necessities such as food, clothing and other essentials.
If you would like to donate, you can contact Wylene Lathan by calling her at 850-573-0385.
The Cottondale City Hall is also accepting donations of food, clothing and cash.