By Valerie Reddell
John and Laken James and their children lost nearly everything in a fire that caused severe damage to their home just across the street from the Colmesneil schools.
John James was driving home from work when the fire started and his wife Laken was at work at the Bulldog Café when a child entered the restaurant and told her about the fire at about 6 p.m. Monday.
Laken left immediately and raced home.
Their teenage son was still at football practice and the two younger boys were at home with their grandfather when someone reported the fire.
"We don't know if the house is salvageable," said family spokesperson Kelli Barnes.
"It's an old house with siding, but the roof and rafters are not burned. It's still standing," she added.
Damage to the middle portion of the house is mostly smoke, heat and water damage, Barnes said. Family members were assisting the couple in salvaging personal items and looking for a new home to rent on Tuesday.
"Tons of people have been offering to help," Barnes continued. "I've been in Tyler County since 1990 and this is the first time to be on the receiving end — needing help from the fire department."
"Knowing that these firefighters just put whatever they were going to do to the side and spent hours fighting this fire. Then when they were worn out, they go back to the station and clean trucks and get ready for the next fire — it's selfless.
The home is owned by Angie Wood Seale.
The family's cat perished in the fire.
A Red Cross representative came to the fire scene Monday night and provided vouchers tha tallowed the family to purchase items that would take care of immediately needs and allow the boys to attend school Tuesday.
Donations to assist the family are being accepted at Bulldog Country Café as well as the Tyler County Booster office, 205 W. Bluff St., Woodville.
Clothing sizes for the family are: Mens:
16 regular pants
Youth XXL or Adult small shirts
Mens 30/30 pants
Adult med shirt.
Household items are also needed.
"I'd like to thanks everyone that has called, text, posted prayers for our family," Laken James said. "It means the world to us we have so many friends that care about us."