A Happy Valley family of seven whose house caught fire Sunday afternoon has asked the community only for prayers despite their home being a total loss.
Officials spent four hours fighting the flames but are unsure what caused the fire, Blount County Fire Capt. Jason Stinnett said Monday.
Some 11 vehicles and 12 personnel responded to a fire on the property of Jason Chabera after the first call came in at 2:25 p.m. Sunday.
A family friend of the Chaberas who wished not to be identified confirmed five children and two adults live in the house.
Only one person was inside the house at the time of the fire, Stinnett said. He was able to escape and call emergency services from a neighbor’s house.
The rest of the family came home sometime later, and the American Red Cross assisted the family at that time, Stinnett said.
Firefighters controlled the fire at 3:20 p.m. and left at 6:31 p.m.
“We had several hot spots and hard areas to get to,” Stinnett said. “That’s what takes the time.”
Firefighters were able to save a nearby garage on the property, but the house was a total loss, Stinnett said.
Red Cross helped the Chaberas, who are not Blount County natives, find a hotel to stay in Sunday night.
The family has also received monetary donations in addition to clothes and house supplies but are currently struggling to find a place to store the donations, according to the friend.
“They’re super nice people,” she said. “They just keep saying ‘just pray.’”