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Family loses belongings, pets in fire

By By MICHELE GERLACH
Publisher
Melvin McBride, Jr. and Jennifer Holland were feeling really good about Christmas this year.
That was before a fire destroyed their home, located at 2600 Old Hwy. 31, on Saturday night. The couple lost all of their possessions and a passel of pets, including 10 Chihuahuas, three birds, two tanks of fish and some hamsters. One Chihuahua escaped.
Holland said the fire started when McBride attempted to adjust a connection on a gas heater and accidently loosened it instead.
McBride's and Holland's baby, Jessica, is two months old.
McBride's 6-year-old son, Nikolas, ran to the back of the house. When McBride realized his son was inside, Holland said, he broke a window and helped the son out.
McBride's mother, Doris Smith, said her son suffered second degree burns on his hands, but refused to seek medical attention.
Meanwhile, his 9-year-old daughter, Keiana, was in the hospital with a severe bladder infection.
The couple was able to save only their two vehicles.
Holland said firemen from Friendship, Flomaton and McCall fire departments responded to the fire. Until those departments arrived, all the family could do was watch the home burn.
They have no insurance, Holland said, and have not been able to get any help. They are currently staying with McBride's sister, family and friends. The sister's home, a mobile home, has yet to be repaired from Hurricane Ivan.
The couple can be reached at 236-0413.