Gulfport Mom And Six Children Lose Everything In Fire

"This is where the smoke stopped," Pearlicha Holmes said as she pointed to the ceiling.

The 16-year-old was asleep in her bedroom Tuesday morning, oblivious to the fact that flames were racing through her house. Her neighbor, Jerome Nichols, heard what sounded like an explosion.

"I hear a loud boom," said Jerome Nichols. "Then I turned around. I turned back around and said, 'That house is smoking.'"

Worried that six children were trapped inside, Nichols tried to break into the house.

"I went to where I bust the window out there," said Nichols. "She was sleeping. I woke her up, got her out of there."

Pearlicha got out safely, but panicked when she thought her younger sister was still inside.

"I tried to run back in the house," said Pearlicha. "They wouldn't let me back in the house, so I started getting hysterical over the whole thing."

Fortunately, her five brothers and sisters were at camp or visiting friends.

"I thank the Lord for blessing us, and everyone survived," said Pearlicha's mom Brandie Holmes.

But just about everything the family owned, including a van, was destroyed. The only items they were able to salvage were a few bags of food and mementos.

"These are crystals. That's about 20-years-old," said Holmes as she held up some bowls.

The fire happened just when Holmes thought life was getting better for her children. Their landlord just started repairing the roof that was damaged in Katrina. Now, family members are living with friends until they can start over.

"What do we have to do?" asked the children's grandmother.

"Keep our head up," they answered.

"That's right baby girl. Keep a smile on our face."

"Take it day by day, and put it in the Lord's hands," said Holmes. "I'm hoping my prayers get answered. We need another home. We need another vehicle, and what we really need is for all of us to be together right now."

Gulfport fire investigators believe the fire was caused by a short in an electrical outlet in a back bedroom. The family has no insurance. If you can help in any way, just call 228-383-1691.