Eastside family loses 'almost everything' in fire

Published On: Sep 10 2012 06:26:13 PM EDT
Updated On: Sep 11 2012 06:58:59 AM EDT

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

An Eastside family lost just about everything they owned in a Sunday afternoon fire, but the parents said they saved what was important -- their children's lives.

It happened at a 70-year-old home on East 14th Street near Phoenix Avenue. Investigators said the fire appeared accidental and was caused by an electrical problem. The house was estimated to be a total loss.

A Jacksonville Fire and Rescue firefighter from Station 11 fell and hurt his back, according to rescuers, and had to go the hospital. On Monday, a spokesperson for the department said the man had been discharged and was doing okay.

"Everything just happened so quick," said Kenny White, who said he was watching the Jaguars game when his 4-year-old son came running in, yelling that the walls were on fire. "It wasn't time to think about trying to grab anything, we just had to go!"

His wife, Taunya Patterson, said her first priority was her three children -- ages 3, 4 and 16.

From the ashes, they found a few things worth saving. But the flames destroyed just about everything else: documents, pictures, and family heirlooms. To make matters worse, the family said their car was stolen from in front of the house just a few weeks ago.

"Everything that we had accumulated was all we had and we worked as hard as we could to get it," said White. "And the next day it's gone."

But instead of tallying up its losses, this family is counting its blessings.

"At least my kids and my old man got out fine," said Patterson. "We're not hurt."

The family was thankful American Red Cross volunteers gave them some money for food and clothes and putting them in a hotel for a few days. But after that, the future is uncertain and frightening, said the family.

"Just anything that anyone can help us with, we'd greatly appreciate," said Patterson.

If you'd like to help the White family with food, clothes, furniture or money, e-mail Channel 4's Vic Micolucci at vic@wjxt.com. He will pass messages along to the family.

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