KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knox County Sheriff’s Office deputy is having to rebuild after losing everything when his house was engulfed in flames on New Year’s Eve.
KCSO Corporal Lance Thomas’s home, filled with memories, is now in shambles.
According to Thomas, his father built the home by hand and passed it down to every generation. Now, the law enforcement community is surrounding him and his family during this hard time.
“You can’t put a price tag on this house,” Thomas said. “There is so much sentimental value here. I mean, I was born and raised here; my kids were born and raised here. It means the world to me.”
The Thomas family is not alone in trying to put the pieces back together following the fire.
“I can’t thank [the community] enough,” Thomas said. “People have driven by and dropped off clothing, they’ve dropped off food items, cleaning supplies, things that we need. They have donated on the GoFundMe that’s out there. They’ve done so much that I could never repay them for the love and support they have shown me.”
The family lost everything as a result of the blaze that was caused by an overturned space heater that caught a bed on fire.
“We lost everything. What wasn’t damaged by the fire was damaged by heat and smoke and water,” Thomas said. “We lost all of our furniture, there was nothing of that savable. All of the clothing for the kids, my wife and me, we lost all those. We are basically starting over.”
Due to the large size of the family, they are split between two family members’ homes.
“Right now, a few of us are at my brother’s house and a few of us are at my in-laws,” Thomas said.
Despite all of this, Thomas is thankful for those who have come in to help his family get back on their feet.
“I just want to thank all of the first responders who came out and worked so hard to save what they could of the house,” Thomas said. “I want to thank the community again. Without the outpouring of support from the community, I would not even be to attempt to try and rebuild my house. We didn’t have homeowners insurance so everything we’ve lost is coming straight out of our pocket.”
The family is accepting donations of any kind, the big thing right now being clothes:
- Lance wears size 2XL shirts, 38/30 pants and size 9 1/2 shoes;
- Ashley wears 3XL shirts and pants, and size 9 shoes;
- Peyton wears a size small shirt, 28/32 pants, and size 9 shoes;
- Dylan wears medium shirts, 30/32 pants and size 10 shoes;
- Emily wears size small shirts, size 1 pants, and size 4 shoes; Kyler wears size 3 to 6-month clothes and size 2 diapers.
The GoFundMe goal is $20,000 and to donate, click the link here. Other donations like clothing or basic home goods can be dropped off at the Roger D. Wilson Detention Facility at 5001 Maloneyville Road or David’s Abbey Carpet and Floors at 10853 Kingston Pike.