A local family of five was displaced on Wednesday following an early morning fire in the 1400 block of E. Bowie Street.
“Thirteen firefighters took several minutes to extinguish the flames of a single family dwelling located at the 1400 block of E. Bowie Street,” said Marshall Fire Chief Reggie Cooper, noting the family lost mostly everything.
“Fortunately everyone was able to exit the home safely,” he said.
Fire victim Brandy Johnson said the fire occurred around 4 a.m. The mother said she was happy that all made it out safe. She said they were concerned about her son, 11-year-old Peerles, who has special needs and uses a wheelchair.
“We made sure my little boy got out first,” said Johnson.
While the investigation of the fire is ongoing, Cooper said it appears, however, that the fire was accidental in nature, potentially due to an electrical source.
“Red Cross has been notified and there are no injuries noted,” the fire chief said. “This family is very fortunate that everyone was able to get out safely.”
“The resident heard a pop and later smelled and saw smoke and flames,” Cooper said. “The residents acted quickly and called 911.”
Fortunately, smoke detectors were installed throughout the house, the fire chief advised.
Friend of the Johnson family, Richar Mau Leyva, shared on the News Messenger’s Facebook page that clothing donations are being accepted to help the family.
She noted that the father wears a 5X in tops and bottoms; the mother wears a 3X in tops and bottoms and a size 10 in shoes; a daughter, 19-year-old Allison, wears a 3X in tops and bottoms and a size 10 in shoes; another daughter, 24-year-old Whitney wears a 3X in sweats and shirts and a size 11 in shoes; and Peerles, the son, wears a size 12 in pants with an adjustable waist, a large in shirts and a size 2 in shoes.
Socks and undergarments will also be accepted, mother, Brandy Johnson, said.
“They need about anything from clothes, shoes, toiletries and hygiene products,” Levya told the News Messenger.
“The youngest kid is disabled. So please if you have anything you want to get rid of consider donating it to the Johnson Family,” Leyva also pleaded on her Facebook page.
“Please keep them in your prayers!” Leyva asked, thanking all in advance.
Donations for the Johnson family can be dropped off at 1301 E. Bowie St. in Marshall, which is a family member’s home.
Brandy Johnson said she’s grateful for the response her family has received thus far, especially the donation of a wheelchair for her son since his was destroyed by the fire.
“We’ve had someone to donate us one, thank the Lord for that,” she said.
Johnson said besides the items listed above, donations of baby wipes would also be helpful to assist in the care of her special needs son.
“Maybe baby wipes because he still wears diapers,” she shared, “but we’re good on diapers; someone donated a box of those also.”
“I’m just more concerned and worried that he gets his stuff and then my two girls,” the mother said.
Johnson said she’s grateful for the support of William B. Travis Elementary School, where her son is a fourth-grade life skills student.
“His teacher and everybody has been calling and coming by all day today,” she said. “They love him.”
William B. Travis announced on its Facebook page on Wednesday that the school will also collect items for the family from now until the end of the school year. They urged parents to help support the cause.
“WBT Parents we need your help,” school administrators wrote. “We would love for you to bring items to the school ASAP.”
Thrift Life at 2100 East End Blvd. N. also offered support, making an announcement on the News Messenger’s Facebook post that the store would like to donate anything this family needs — including clothing, shoes, blankets, bedding, hygiene items, housewares, duffel bags or backpacks for school or storage in transition.
“Anything we have that this family needs we would like to donate it and make sure they are taken care of,” Michael Smith with the thrift store posted, urging anyone who can get him in contact with the family or facilitate the exchange to the family to please call the store at 903-472-5678.
“If they can make use of it, we would like to hook them up free of charge,” Smith said.