Marianna House Fire Kills Four

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New Years Day took a tragic turn in Jackson County.

A Marianna house fire claimed the lives of four people Wednesday morning.

The fire began around 7:45. There were 10 people inside. Six escaped, but four died, including a women described as a pillar of this community.

It's a phone call James Rhynes doesn't want to remember but will never forget.

"I missed my uncle's call, missed my cousin's call. My mom finally got a hold of me on my son's phone and said, 'get here, get here, get here.' I'm asking her what was going on and she said, 'momma gone, grandma gone, grandma gone and my sister gone,' " said Rhynes.

The fire that claimed four members of a Rhymes' family started about 7:45 Wednesday morning at this home on Jackson Street.

Three smoke detectors went off, waking-up 6 children, all under the age of 8.

"That's what woke them up to alert everybody that there was a fire to try to get everybody out. And unfortunately the 4 didn't make it out. These women were pillars in the community. A lot of people would pass by and blow the horn as they saw them sitting on the porch. It's just heart breaking," said Marianna Fire Chief Nakeya Lovett. "They did what they could to try to save the individuals. But we got the call, unfortunately, a bit too late and had 4 fatalities."

"My grandmother, her name is Gertrude Pete. Her mother, which is Sarah Johnson, that's my great grandmother, and then my mother's father's mother, Elise Pete, which was also in the house, and then my mom's baby sister who was also in the house, Cynthia Pete," said Rhynes.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation

"Right now we're speculating that it came from an overloaded extension cord," said Lovett.

For now the family is clinging to their faith to pull them through this tragedy.

"Job says, 'Though he slayed me yet will I trust him." that's what I hold on to. Just the simple words: Yet I will trust him, yet I will trust him, yet I will trust him. That's what we hold onto as a family no matter what it looks like on the outside we will trust god," said Rhynes.

The Red Cross has stepped in to help the family.

We will keep you informed as we learn more details.


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