CROSS COUNTY, Ark. — Eight members of a Cross County, Arkansas family escaped a devastating fire Monday morning. The fire destroyed their home and everything they own.
It happened in the small community of Cherry Valley located a few miles from Harrisburg. On Thursday, one of the survivors told us about the terrifying ordeal.
“My 12-year-old, she woke me up at around 4 o’clock in the morning screaming she couldn’t breath,” survivor Allen Cantrell said. “We jump out of bed and all you could see is flames and smoke.”
Cantrell says he struggled to find the window in the smoke. “Once I finally found one I started throwing kids out of it.”
The rescue was far from over. Cantrell then focused on getting Walter and Dorothy Jackson out of the house. He says the 75-year-old couple was understandably petrified.
“And as we getting them out, the house started falling while they was still in the window. I mean, it was just horrible.”
Everyone escaped the fire. But everything was lost, including the families four dogs.
“Everything. I mean everything we’ve ever had. It’s all gone,” Cantrell said.
There have been donations of clothing, but the family still needs help. That’s where Candace Parnell comes in. She manages The Tobacco Superstore in Harrisburg and knows the family.
“I been here almost 14 years, so they’ve been customers for a very long time,” she said.
Parnell remembers Walter Jackson from when he drove a school bus for the Harrisburg School District. She’s set up a donation jar to help raise money for the family and get them back on their feet.
The cause of the fire is known at this time. The family has established a GoFundMe account.