ST. MARTIN, MS (WLOX)- "When I came here and saw it, I broke down," said Darnell Davis of the moment he saw is rental house surrounded by firemen. "Because I said, 'That was everything.'"
And it was gone in an instant. Everything Darnell and Pamela Davis and five of their children owned, turned to ashes Wendesday. They said the house itself isn't a total loss, but all of their belongings are gone.
No lives were lost, but hearts were broken. Now, it's time to explain the loss to their children. They range in age from under 2 years, all the way into their teens.
"I started crying," said 9-year-old Heaven Davis of the first glimpse she got of her bedroom reduced to cinders. "But then my mom said, 'It's ok because just think of it as we're starting all over.' So I just stopped crying and thought of that."
Starting over isn't easy. The Davis family had recently moved into the house, and said they were taking care of other financial matters before they could purchase renters' insurance.
"We had been here about 6 months," Darnell Davis said. "We were obviously planning on being here for a while."
Now the family is spending their holiday in a motel room, wearing donated clothes and shoes, with no insurance to offer relief.
"With the motels being booked up, we were lucky to even get a motel room for as many days as we did," Darnell Davis said. "And all the hotels are booked up for the weekend."
This family is no stranger to challenges like this. The house was their first home in South Mississippi since Hurricane Katrina destroyed all they had nearly four years ago.
"We were just getting back on our feet after Katrina, and now this happens," Darnell Davis said. "It doesn't get any easier, but we have had, you know, we've had experience having to start over again."
They're drawing strength from friends, neighbors and each other.
"People have been helping us as much as they can," Darnell Davis said. "So we will get through this. It's just been hard right off the bat. We will pick up and continue on."
A benefit account has been set up for Pamela and Darnell Davis. Anyone who'd like to donate can do so at any branch of Hancock Bank.