Soldier And His Family Seek Help After Fire - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/13/04

Soldier And His Family Seek Help After Fire

A South Mississippi man who has put his life on the line to defend our country in Iraq is now asking for your help.  James Riley's family lost all of their possessions when a fire destroyed their home Saturday night.

Riley's been on a two-week leave, after serving with the military police in Iraq. He was supposed to return to Iraq on Easter Sunday, but because of the fire, the Mississippi soldier must stay back to sort out the turmoil here at home. 

"We went over to see her mom and Dad before I left, and I stepped outside and saw smoke coming outside the house. They called 9-1-1," Riley said.

James Riley never thought he would be spending his last night of rest and relaxation leave from the military trying to save his house. The Army military policeman was at his sister-in-law's next door and could only watch as his house burned. Riley couldn't even get Biggs the cat out.

"I'm pretty upset about it. We've had it since my wife and I started dating," James Riley said. Losing Biggs is just one of the many things the Rileys have had to explain to their three-year-old daughter Haley since the fire broke out. 

Monday afternoon was Haley's first time to see what's left of the place that's been her home since she was born. "The nights that she's been without coming home, she's asked me, Mommy, let's go home. We don't have a home right now. It will be a little while, so she's seen it, and she's just now...she doesn't know how to take it. She's pretty devastated about it," Haley's mother, Rachel Riley said.

The fire started in the master bedroom. Fire investigators say a power surge protector started the blaze.

Rachel believes her husband is the reason everyone is still alive. "If my husband wouldn't have been on leave, me and my daughter probably would have been asleep inside. We probably would have been resting in the living room. We may not have made it." Rachel Riley said.

Now the Rileys, who have endured four months of being apart, must stick together as they sift through what's left of their worldly possessions.

The Rileys had insurance on the mobile home, but nothing inside was insured If you'd like to help out you can make a donation at any branch of the Peoples Bank.

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