MADISONVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A phone call from a volunteer with the Madisonville Fire-Rescue was all it took to get Pat Lantzy and her family running out of their home to a neighbor’s home just two doors down.
Madisonville Fire-Rescue were responding to a house fire at 1217 Lincoln Drive.
“We automatically just ran out of the house, you know, go down there cause we knew they had a sick aunt that lived with them that, you know, hard to get around,” Lantzy said. “Plus, you know, all the children, so we ran down there and everyone was out of the house that we thought.”
Lantzy said that as she was running outside, her neighbors were also running to the home with smoke already showing from the roof.
Kristin Kirkland, another neighbor from across the street, said she saw more than just Lantzy’s family running to help.
“People that I’ve never met, and I’ve lived here almost three years, just come up and ask (the family) what size shoe do they wear; what size of clothes. ‘Anything to get you through the night? Do you need a blanket? A Hoodie?’ I mean, socks, dry socks. Like, they were barefooted. They didn’t have shoes on their feet. They didn’t have jackets on their backs,” Kirkland said.
Kirkland said she got a text from a friend down the road, saying that police were on their way.
Her 9-year-old son looked out the door and saw their neighbor’s home, almost directly across the street, on fire.
Kirkland then rushed outside herself and saw flames.
“I mean, it’s sad overall,” Kirkland said. “Like a house can be replaceable, but at the same time you stand there and you watch your house burn. You lose it all and then to know that you lost a grandchild, a sister; you know, like a cousin … it’s just sad.”
Lantzy said the family didn’t know they were missing a child at first.
She said a grandmother lived at the home with her sister and four grandchildren.
Both Lantzy and Kirkland said the youngest was less than a year old, the next was about 2 years old, the third was a couple of years older and the fourth was about 9 or 10 years old.
Lantzy said that at first, all of the children were believed to be accounted for shortly after they got out of the home.
A few minutes later, after all the children were split up, the family realized they didn’t see the second youngest.
“So, everybody started (looking) … went to the neighbor’s house to see how many kids was in there. And then the fire chief’s wife had their suburban here, and one of the kids was in there with her granddaughter and the baby wasn’t in there. That’s when we realized that there was a, you know, baby missing,” Lantzy said.
Firefighters, police and TBI agents were at the scene for hours.
“It’s just doom and gloom in the neighborhood today,” Lantzy said. “I can’t comprehend, don’t want to comprehend. All I know is my prayers and my thoughts are with the family.
“You know, they need the neighborhood, they need the community to help in any way they can.”
Both Lantzy and Kirkland were gathering items to help the family.
Lantzy said a family was able to donate the same formula that the youngest drinks, as well as diapers.
“My grandson is 6 years old and he has a heart of gold. And last night he told me, he said, ‘Gigi, I’m gonna go through my toys tomorrow and go get (the oldest) some toys cause he don’t have none. His all got burned up,’ ” Lantzy said.
She said if her grandson knew that he could help in some way, then others can too.
Lantzy said if anyone wants to help the family, they can bring donations to the 1200 block of Lincoln Drive. Neighbors will know what to do with the items.
TBI is leading the investigation into the cause of the fire. At this time they are not releasing the identity of the child until the autopsy is completed.
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