8-year-old wakes up family during fire loss

Posted at 2:22 PM, Nov 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-24 14:22:30-05

Linden, TN (WSMV) — Just ahead of Thanksgiving, a Perry County family watched their home burn to the ground.

In that fire, they lost pictures and keepsakes they’ll never get back. Still, that family said what happened could’ve been far more tragic if not for the actions of one person.

“Hey, babe. Look what I found here,” said Lawrence Shafer, digging through the debris at his Kimble Road home of four years.

“It’s a little motorcycle that my son had bought me,” he said, showing the toy to wife Amanda. “It’s amazing. There’s not much left over from what we had here. Little bits here and there are kinda neat.”

Their little home in Linden was set back in the country. Lawrence said they were living off the grid.

“It’s just the lifestyle that I like,” he smiled. “It was a nice little house.”

Lawrence said he could’ve lost even more than his home.

Monday morning, he left for work, leaving Amanda and children, Serenity and Christopher.

“We were asleep on the couch watching cartoons,” Amanda said.

Serenity woke everyone up feeling something was wrong. Amanda said a toy had been left leaning on the wood stove.

“My daughter said it just kept getting hotter and hotter and unusually hot,” said Amanda. “She looked up and looked over, and the whole back of the wood stove was on fire. I just grabbed the kids and ran out.”

“I drove 100 miles an hour from my shop here,” Lawrence said. “As soon as I opened the back door, it was just like a fireball everywhere. Literally left here with what we had on.”

“It’s really hard for her,” Lawrence continued, looking at Amanda. “She has a lot of things that were very special to her, a lot of pictures of her dad.”

“My dad just died four months ago,” Amanda added.

The Shafers are hoping to start the rebuilding process soon. They said friends in the Amish and Mennonite communities have offered to come out as early as next week.

As the children stayed with family Wednesday, the Shafers watched the rest of their home be cleared away.

“I don’t know what we’re doing tomorrow,” Lawrence said.

“It doesn’t really feel like Thanksgiving,” Amanda added.

Even after the fire, the couple was still able to smile, grateful for a daughter who alerted the family and saved lives.

“It could’ve been really bad,” Lawrence said. “It could’ve gotten to the point where it was burning too much to get out the front door or the back door. I’m just really, really glad they woke up in time.”