Teachers need help rebuilding after fire destroys their Gulfport home

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It was supposed to be an exciting time. A Gulfport couple, who are both teachers, was getting ready for the first day of school. Their daughters were also looking forward to a new school year. But on August 6th, their house burst into flames. Now, they need help so they can get back in their home.

The shock remained raw for Kimberly Robins Friday, as she looked at her destroyed house on East Stevens Circle. Her daughters' book bags, clothes, and school items were buried under ashes and soggy insulation.

"This is completely charred, all the books just completely messed up and gone," she commented.

Also among the ruins were laptops and classroom supplies Robins needed for her job as a fifth grade teacher at Gaston Point Elementary. Yet standing in the middle of the charred mess, Robins still felt grateful.

The day the fire broke out, her husband had just returned to work as a PE coach at Pineville Elementary. Her two teenage daughters were at JROTC camp. Robins was taking her sister to the doctor, instead of taking a nap.

"I could have been in that bed that morning. It was an act of God that He had something for us all to do," said Robins. "The fire inspector said the fire started in my bedroom, above the doorway. I would have been trapped."

It was not the first time the family experienced tragedy. They lost everything when a tornado tore through their house during Hurricane Katrina.

"It's like Katrina all over again, and it's just heartbreaking," said Robins.

The family has insurance, but Robins said it's not enough for them to rebuild.

"According to the insurance adjuster, it's not going to be enough to take care of all the damages, because they're going to take care of the mortgage and all of that first, and we just get what's left," said Robins.

She is seeking help from volunteers and organizations that can gut the house and start the construction.

"We're looking for reasonable contractors or someone who is not in it for the money, per se. Someone who can donate their time to just lend a helping hand," said Robins.

The family is relying on the kindness of strangers and prayers to get them through this rough time.

"It's all through the grace of God," said Robins. "Through His grace and mercy, we're hanging on."

Investigators said an electrical short in the attic sparked the blaze.  If you can help the Robins family, call them at (228) 547-0807.

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