Family has to ‘start over’ after house fire

Published 1:00 am Saturday, March 14, 2015

Almost one week after her home was destroyed by a fire, Kyndra Gunter is trying to rebuild her life, and she is hoping for some community support to help her get back on her feet.

Gunter and her 12-year-old son lived in a home on Anderson Loop off of Sims Hill Road near Long Hollow Road that burned early Monday morning.

“We lost everything,” Gunter said. “Nothing was salvageable.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Gunter noticed her home was on fire after paramedics came to the home to take her mother, who was staying with her for a short time, to the hospital.

“I was asleep and I heard her yell,” Gunter said. “She said the heater had shocked her when she touched it. I think the heater started the fire and it spread from there to the bed and then through the house.”

The fire started while Gunter was outside with the paramedics. When she returned inside, the home had already filled with smoke and the bedroom was in flames, she said.

“That is how fast it started,” Gunter said. “When you are thinking about it, you always say, ‘If my house catches on fire, I am going to grab this, this and this.’ When it happens, there is really no time for that. Everything goes so fast.”

Not only did the family lose all their belonging, they also lost one of their two cats. The cats, Ricky and Lucy, had been a part of Gunter’s family since they were born, and the brother and sister had never been separated. Lucy died in the fire, and the fire burned Ricky’s whiskers and paws as he tried to escape, she said. Ricky is staying at the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter until Gunter can get established in a new home.

Gunter plans to move into her new home early this week, but she has nothing to take with her and lacks the money to buy the items she needs, she said.

“I had just paid the rent,” she said. “We had gotten our income taxes back, and I had used that to buy new things for the house. All that is gone now. We have no beds, blankets, sheets, pillows, dishes, clothes or anything.”

The Red Cross helped put Gunter and her son in a hotel for a few days and provided some money the family has been using for food, Gunter said.

Donations of furniture, clothing, food and other household items are being collected for Gunter and her son. Gunter’s family needs men’s pants sized 38/30, men’s XL shirts and size 10 1/2 shoes, and women’s size 18 pants, women’s XL shirts and size 8 shoes.

“We need prayers, too,” Gunter said. “It has been really hard. I moved here two years ago after I visited and thought it was so pretty here. I started over here. That’s what makes it so much more heart-wrenching is I have to start over again.”

To make a donation or arrange a drop-off, call 423-609-9054.