An electrical short is being blamed for a fire that heavily damaged a mobile home in Saucier.
A family of 12 lived in that trailer and is now trying to salvage what little they can. They are most thankful no one was injured in the blaze, which began around three o'clock Tuesday afternoon. But a family dog died as a result of the fire.
And though the Red Cross is helping with temporary housing, this extended family will need some help from the community.
Thankfully, the blaze began in mid-afternoon rather than the middle of the night. Several adults from this extended family of 12 were home at the time. Harriet Howard was the first to smell smoke.
"We could hear it sparkling and smoke going everywhere. I was closer than her to the back door, so I went out the back steps," she said.
"I heard my mom hollering, 'Fire!' And I come out of the bedroom into the living room and it was just coming out of the room, smoke was coming out," said her daughter, Patricia Howard.
Seven-year-old Hunter is happy his bike was spared. He's also hoping to salvage his desk and a few things from his bedroom.
"Hunter went to school with a little boy in kindergarten and they were friends. As soon as they got off the bus, his mom came down and took him over there and said, 'Don't leave it in his face,'" said Patricia, while fighting back sobs.
"And the three-year-old granddaughter got up this morning and asked, 'Did the dog come back from heaven?' I told her, 'No baby, the dog didn't come back from heaven. He won't never come back,'" said Harriet Howard.
Investigators believe an electrical problem sparked the fire.
"Sheriff's department investigators, arson and fire investigators, we've looked at it and it appears to be accidental, electrical in nature is what caused the fire. We found a power strip we believe is the cause of the fire," said Fire Marshal Pat Sullivan.
The Red Cross is providing temporary shelter for this extended family. As for those who may question a family of 12 living in a single mobile home, Patricia Howard says it's easy to judge.
"You've got to do what you've got to do in this economy, even if it be 20 people. You can't put your kids on the street," she explained.
The family said the biggest need right now is clothing for the children, which include a three-year-old girl, a four-year-old boy and a seven-year-old boy. If you'd like to help out with clothing or any other donations, you can reach the Howard family at (228) 669-6208.