New Details on the Deadly New Year's Day House Fire


Marianna- Family members didn't tell Latia Bellamy why she needed to drop everything and rush to her grandmother, Gertrude Pete's home on Jackson Street Wednesday morning. But, she knew the reason wasn't good

"When I pulled up, that's when I seen the tragedy and I still couldn't believe it," she told us.

Flames had ripped through the house.

Bellamy said her heart raced as she realized her mother, three year old daughter, grandmother, two great grandmothers, five nieces and nephews, aunt, a cousin and a family friend had all been inside- a total of 13-people.

"Until I ran over there looking for my baby and my momma, that's when [the family] broke the news to me what was really going on," she said.

Nine people, including Bellamy's daughter and mother made it out alive. But, her grandmother, two great grandmothers and aunt did not survive.

"When we got home last night [my daughter] was telling me, or, trying to tell me, bits and pieces of what happened. By them, being so young, it's not going to be so easy to be like, 'It's okay, and this is what happened,'" Bellamy said. "They're young and they really don't have an understanding of what's going on. They really just know, [the fire] happened and [4 family members] didn't make it out. Some of them still don't understand that they're not living."

Wednesday, Marianna Fire Chief Nicky Lovett said the initial investigation indicated the fire could have been started by an overloaded extension cord. But, as of Thursday, he said the fire, thought not suspicious, was still under investigation.

Investigators weren't the only ones with questions. Both kids and surviving adults had unanswered questions, but there was one question with a clear answer: how people could help.

"If you could donate some clothes, send out prayers, love- nothing is wrong with that. And you know, it's not about money, but if somebody can put money in the fund to see if we can try and get them buried," Bellamy said.

A fund has been set up at Regions Bank to help the family pay for the expense of four funerals. Donations can be made to the Pete Family Tragedy Fund.

Clothes are also high on the list of needs. Six children and three adults lost everything they had. The clothing needs are broken down by gender age and size.

Girl (4)- Clothes: 4T Shoes: 8

Twin Girls (7)
Twin 1- Clothes: 8 Shoes: 3
Twin 2- Clothes: 10 Shoes: 4

Boy (5)- Clothes: 7 Shoes: 10.5

Boy (6)- Clothes: 8-10 Shoes 1.5

Girl (7) Clothes: 7 Shoes: 1.5

Adult Woman- Shirt: 2X Pants: 18 Shoes: 9

Adult Woman- Shirt: 2X Pants: 20 Shoes 8.5

Adult Male- Shirt: 3X- 4X Pants: 38-40 Shoes: 12


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
8195 Front Beach Road Panama City Beach, FL 32407 Station: 850-234-7777 News: 850-230-5221 Fax: 850-233-6647 FCC Form 398
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 238520661