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Florida family needs help after fire destroys home

Staff Writer
Walton Sun
Walton Sun

A family left homeless after a fire ripped through their rented double-wide mobile home this past weekend is asking for help, as everything they own was destroyed in the blaze.

Marion County firefighters rescued a woman from the fire by breaking the window and pulling her from a room. Two other family members got out by themselves and were taken to the hospital.

Oteisha Brown lived at the home at 8610 NW 13th Court. Brown said they’re in need of many items such as clothing for the children and the adults, appliances, and a place to stay.

For now, the American Red Cross has provided some relief, but that’s expected to end sometime this week.

Brown said she left home to go to work roughly 10 to 15 minutes before the fire started. County fire officials said they received a call about the fire at 6:12 a.m. on Saturday and arrived at 6:21 a.m.

At the time of the call, firefighters were told that an adult and four children were already outside. When firefighters arrived, neighbors told them a woman was inside. They found her near a window.

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Evelyn Youmans, one of several people inside the home at the time of the blaze, told a reporter on Saturday that she was asleep when a loud booming noise woke her. Seeing smoke and fire, she quickly carried four children -- two boys and two girls, ages 10, 9, 6, and 4 -- outside.

Youmans said she was unable to reach Mishon McBride, 57, who was trapped in a bedroom because the smoke and fire were too intense. Firefighters managed to get McBride out.

McBride had burns on her body and smoke inhalation, and she was transported to UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville, where she was listed in critical condition.

Brown said McBride, who’s her mother, remains at Shands in that same condition. She said her grandmother, 73-year-old Jacqueline Mosley, and her mother’s husband, Paul Blunt, 79, are also at Shands in the same condition. Mosley and Blunt had burns on their lower bodies. Blunt had smoke inhalation.

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State fire investigators have told the family that their preliminary investigation has shown that the fire started from a socket where a television cord was plugged in. The investigation continues.

Marion County Sheriff’s Office detectives said Tuesday they don’t suspect foul play.

Elizabeth Ramos, a neighbor who used a blanket to cover the children when they were brought outside by Youmans, said Tuesday that her home at 8675 NW 13th Court is one of three drop-odd sites for donations for the family. The other locations are Black Lotus Tattoo, 5440 SE Abshier Blvd., and Gerri Gerthe of Florida Kids Helping Kids.

Ramos said the displaced family is having a difficult time and needs assistance with basic necessities like food and clothing for the children and the adults.

Another neighbor, Kaytlan Forret, dropped off some things at Ramos’ home on Tuesday. She told the Star-Banner she’s “trying to help as much as possible to help them.”

Gerthe said Tuesday she has pots, pans, a couch and silverware. She said they need hygiene products, a gas card (the family has been traveling back and forth to the hospital) clean mattresses and a storage facility.

Gerthe said anyone who wants to donate to the family can call her at 347-0883 to make an appointment.

This story originally published to ocala.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the USA TODAY Network - Florida.