Longtime coach suffers loss of home… Fire destroys Michael Lunsford’s Avery Co. home

Published 10:47 pm Friday, December 17, 2021

House fires at any time of the year are tragic, but for a local coaching legend having a fire just before the Christmas holiday added that much more stress to the season.

Hampton High School football Assistant Coach and Unaka Girls Basketball Assistant Coach Mike Lunsford and his wife Kathy lost their home this past week to a house fire in Avery County, North Carolina.

There has been an account set up at Northeast Community Credit Union to help the Lunsford family. The account is in the name of Mike Lunsford and is now open and accepting any and all donations of cash or checks. Checks must be made out to Mike Lunsford if your dropping a check by any of the Credit Union Branches.

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According to Coach Lunsford’s son, Michael who is the head coach at Hampton, the fire was first discovered by his little sister before she had laid down to take a nap around 4 p.m.

The call to emergency personnel brought the fire department out who fought the fire from 4 p.m. to about 9:30 p.m. that night completely soaking the house

“Dad had a little stove in the basement and it had a flue going out the wall,” said the young Lunsford. “It has been there for years. There was a fire that got started in that stove pipe kind of like a chimney fire. The pipe itself just got so hot and the wood was so old, it just caught the wood on fire.”

According to Lunsford, his parents went to spend the night with his grandparents who lived close by.

“About 3:30 a.m. in the morning, mom heard a loud boom and it woke them up. They looked over at the house and it had caught back on fire. Fire was coming up the side. By the time dad got from the upstairs to the downstairs, he said the whole house was engulfed and it was gone in about 15 minutes.”

Right now, the family is in need of financial support as they had no insurance on the home.

“They just need money to help build back is the biggest thing people can do to help,” said young Lunsford. “They are going to have to buy appliances. Some other people have bought them clothes and and groceries. We appreciate everything that everyone is doing. We are thankful to live where we do.”

Branch locations for Northeast Community Credit Union:
– 980 Jason Witten Way Elizabethton, TN
– 1321 Highway 19E Elizabethton, TN
– 313 West Oakland Ave Johnson City, TN
– 8301 Highway 19E Roan Mountain, TN

There is also a Gofundme me account set up https://gofund.me/3e05a443.