Two Gulfport Families Lose Everything In Fires - - The News for South Mississippi

Two Gulfport Families Lose Everything In Fires

Inside Grace Kennedy's home on Stewart Avenue, there is nothing left that isn't covered in black soot. Her five children are left with nothing because they did not have renters' insurance.

Gulfport Deputy Fire Marshal Joe Ing says the problem started Tuesday afternoon when one of Kennedy's children, an 8-year-old boy, set a mattress on fire. His mother put the fire out, but never called the fire department.

"Only thing we can come up with is these re-ignited during the evening time when the wind kicked up, started a fire up underneath the house and then it got into the siding," Ing said.

Ing says this is the fifth fire the boy has set. The boy's mother says she had tried before to get him some professional help, but this is what it took for that to actually happen.

"Back in November, I went and tried to get him in there and they turned me down," Grace Kennedy said. "They said, they didn't feel he needed to be in there."

In Orange Grove, eight members of the Williams family are also coping with a tremendous loss. Their Gary Street home was destroyed by an electrical fire that spread quickly Tuesday night.

"By the time we got out of the house and rushed to the end of the street out there, it was all over," Barbara Williams said. "Half of the house had burned."

The Williams family also did not have renters insurance, and now are depending on the generosity of relatives to take them in.

Although both the Williams and the Kennedys have lost almost everything, both families recognize that they're lucky that everyone was able to get out safely.

If you would like to help with donations, here are the phone numbers you can call. For the Kennedy family, it's (228) 864-1034. For the Williams family, it's (228) 831-5643.

By Amanda Jones

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