A Thursday night house fire at 2108 Carter’s Ferry Road in Marshall has left a family of two displaced.
Fortunately, no one was home as the occupants — two sisters — were away on a cruise.
“We know it started in the back room where the laundry room was,” City Fire Marshal Joey Dunagan said while assessing the damage Friday.
“We’re just sifting through, seeing what we can find,” he said.
Dunagan said the fire department was alerted of the fire at 9:21 p.m. The fire was called in by a passerby who saw the flames billowing from the dead-end street while driving on Loop 390.
“There are no houses next door,” Dunagan said. “When the fire crew got here it was fully involved, but luckily nobody was here.
“That’s the blessing out of it,” the fire marshal said of the home being vacant, at the time.
The occupants, siblings Brenda Dillard and Jennifer Brazzell, had been on a family cruise since Monday when the fire broke out Thursday.
“That’s my mom and dad’s house,” Dillard told the News Messenger in a telephone interview Friday after making it back on land.
“That’s the family home,” Dillard said, sharing she’s been living in it since moving back from Washington in 2012 to help take care of her mother.
She said their mother passed away in 2017, but the two sisters continued to stay as caretakers of the property.
The house has been in the family for decades and was built by their ancestors on land that sits atop of a hill. It’s the host site for all family gatherings.
“That’s a historical site on the hill,” Dillard said of the area on Carter’s Ferry. “Everybody goes to ‘the hill’ for whatever. They always had burger sales up there.
“That’s the ‘Hill Top,’” Dillard said the homestead is affectionately called.
“Now everything is gone — pictures, documents — everything,” she said.
Dillard said they had made it to Houston from the cruise Thursday night when they received news about the fire. Her nephew had checked on the home for them that morning and everything was fine.
“We’d been gone since Monday. All we have is what’s in our luggage,” she said, sharing how devastated they are to return home homeless.
“It’s crazy. It doesn’t seem like it’s real, but it’s real,” said Dillard.
Donations of clothes and other helpful items for Dillard and Brazzell will be accepted at their brother-in-law’s business, Rodgers Service Station at 1107 Carters Ferry Road; Soul Palace at 612 S. Carter St.; and at Brazzell’s daughter’s residence at 706 Whetstone.
Dillard wears an extra large in shirts, a size 16 in pants and size 9 in shoes. Brazzell wears a size 3X in shirts, a size 20-22 in pants and size 10 in shoes.