Teacher helping students’ family recover from fire
Published 7:41 pm Saturday, January 21, 2017
When tragedy strikes, sometimes a helping hand is near.
Just over a week ago an electrical malfunction with the hot water heater made a Vicksburg family’s entire mobile home go up in flames, and a teacher is doing everything she can to help them rebuild their lives.
The explosion that started the fire happened early one morning while three family members, including two Warren Central High School students, were sleeping in the home.
“My daughter said she smelled some smoke,” Tamethia Flowers said. “She is a hard person to wake up. She is a heavy sleeper, but thank God that she did wake up.”
Flowers had already left for work in Yazoo City and other family members were shopping at Wal-Mart when the home caught fire. Flowers’ daughter, junior Rikell Flowers, got the two other family members out of the house without injury.
“She was the hero,” Flowers said.
The home was a total loss and everything inside it was gone including the keys to a vehicle. When teacher Jennifer Cain heard the news from her student Willie Flowers, she knew she had to lend a hand.
Cain has had to deal with two house fires in her lifetime — one before Christmas when she was in third grade, and another the day after Christmas her senior year of high school at Warren Central. She understands first-hand what these students are going through.
“I can remember my coaches, they came together with the school, and I can just remember they surprised me. They gave my family and myself donations, and the community helped us out a lot,” she said.
Cain has been collecting the donations in her classroom in Building B at WCHS.
“Our high school baseball team has taken up a huge collection, and in fact one of our football coaches just brought in several bags of clothing for the family,” Cain said, adding individual students are giving too. “One little boy actually at one point in his life was homeless, and he took $20 out of his pocket and just gave it. He said that he had been in a situation where he didn’t have a home, and he was lucky to have a home, and he just felt the need to do that. I was just blown away.”
Clothing, gift cards, pillows, blanket, furniture, televisions, personal items and household supplies are just some of the things people have donated to the family. Flowers was astonished by the generosity.
“It’s very unexplainable,” Flowers said. “I thank God for it. As I told Ms. Cain, I really appreciate her and thank her for the help and support from others that she helped get for the kids because we didn’t have anything. Everything was destroyed.”
She said she feels love for everyone who has given to her family, especially Cain, and prays God blesses them. She hopes she can be of assistance to any of them who may need help one day.
The family is temporarily staying with Flowers’ sister in Port Gibson. Flowers is in the process of trying to renovate another trailer for her family to move into even though she doesn’t believe she will be able to move the home to her property because of damage it received the first time the family attempted to move the trailer. She said she would try to sell her land and stay in the home located on rental property.
“We’re trying to get the house cleaned up so we have somewhere safe to stay,” she said. To make a donation, call WCHS at 601-631-2867.