Speedwell family blames fireworks for house fire; needs to rebuild

Local News

SPEEDWELL, Tenn. (WATE) — A Speedwell family is needing to rebuild most of their home after it caught fire over the weekend. The family believed fireworks were to blame for the fire. Roy Mullins said it happened on Friday.

“They were out here shooting fireworks and an ember or something got on the roof,” Mullins said.

Mullins was the only person inside at the time.

“I was laying in bed and one of my granddaughters comes in and ‘come on Papaw. We got to get out of the house.’ Said it’s on fire,” Mullins said.

Mullins said flames were shooting out of the roof and the right side of the house, while smoke was coming out of the left. He and his family tried to calm the fire down while they were waiting for the Speedwell Volunteer Fire Department to arrive.

“We got up on the ladder, started squirting it and all that stuff. And we busted a hole in the addition I’m building onto and tried to get water in there, but, the volunteer fire department approximately 20 minutes. They were wonderful,” Mullins said.

Mullins said thanks to the firefighters, his house was still standing. However, the fire destroyed the roof, and he said water and smoke damaged most of the rest of his house.

He said he will need to replace all of the flooring and sheetrock in the basement, and most likely on the upper floor as well.

“The sad part of it is I have no insurance, you know, or one of the sad things about it,” Mullins said.

Mullins said he’s had home insurance for as long as his family has lived in the home–since 1996. But, after making some modifications to the home, he never updated his insurance.

He said because the insurance wasn’t updated with the modifications he made, what insurance he had was essentially null and void.

That means his family was going to have to pay for the rebuild out of pocket.

“I estimated it if I do it, about $40,000, you know, but the gentleman at the fire department said between $50 and $60,000. But I believe I can get away with a little less than that,” Mullins said.

At 75 years old, Mullins still works hard in construction, and his wife works as a special education teacher. He said he and his wife can’t afford to retire yet. They are raising five of their grandchildren, with the youngest being two years old.

“I call him little Red,” Mullins said about the youngest. He said that’s his buddy.

So the rebuild won’t be easy to pay for, but with Mullins working in construction, he plans to do most of the work himself with a little help from family and friends. Being 75, Mullins said it won’t be too easy to for him to do most of the work, but he’s hoping renovations will be done in about three to four months.

Mullins isn’t used to needing help. He said he is usually the one who volunteers, building ramps, railings and other things for seniors. He doesn’t like being on the receiving end, but he said he is truly grateful to anyone who helps.

“I’d like to thank everyone. I don’t care if it’s a penny or a hundred dollars or whatever. I appreciate it all. It will be used for what it should be used for,” Mullins said.

His family created a fundraiser to help with the cost of rebuilding. If you would like to donate, you can find the website by clicking this link: GoFundMe for Mullins family.

The American Red Cross has helped Mullins family as well. While the family is working to rebuild their home, Mullins said they are staying with one of his daughters.

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