GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Late on Valentine’s Day, a Gulfport family experienced extreme heartbreak when their home on Rippy Road in the Turkey Creek neighborhood went up in flames.
The fire is believed to have started due to an electrical issue.
Tiera Beverly was inside the house as the flames began to spread.
“I just saw flames coming from around my sister’s door,” she said.
“It’s a shock more than anything," said Andrea Coker, the homeowner’s niece. “It really is.”
Beverly’s cousin owns the home but was out of town, caring for her dad who recently had surgery in California. She was preparing to bring her dad back to Mississippi to live with her after the double hip surgery. Now, they have nowhere to go.
“When she gets back here, it’s probably going to be (staying at) hotel rooms and staying with family,” said Coker.
The home has historical significance in the Turkey Creek community. The Mississippi Department of Archives and History has the home listed as contributing to the historic value of the neighborhood.
"So we're praying that it's not a total loss," Coker said.
Aside from the historic meaning, the home bears sentimental value. Coker says they were able to save three things from the charred home.
"All of the homes here, they mean a lot of us," Coker said emotionally. "All of our family...we shared a lot of great memories in this home and the thought of it possibly not being here."
The cousins say their mothers grew up in this house, and raised them in it. They were looking to continue that tradition with their own children.
"The memories are still here because it's been here forever," said Beverly.
The cousins say their relative did not have homeowners insurance on the house. They are waiting for a contractor to give them an estimate on the repairs and would like to see the 60-year-old house returned to its historic aesthetic.
The family has launched a Go Fund Me page to gather donations for repairs.