RANKIN — The Red Cross is assisting a Rankin area family that lost everything in a fire that destroyed their rental home Wednesday afternoon.
Assistant Fire Chief Chris Bleich said about 90 percent of the single-story house about 8 miles outside Rankin on 3800 North Road was on fire when the fire department arrived.
He said the family safely escaped the house, which was a total loss along with their belongings. Bleich said the family, which has several children, was renting the house but had rental insurance. The Red Cross responded at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and gave them a credit card for food and clothing, according to Jamie Davis with the Red Cross. Their insurer set up hotel accommodations for them Wednesday night, according to Davis.
Bleich said the mother and some of the kids were in the house, and she was vacuuming and had trouble with an outlet and when she changed outlets, it sparked. He said she went to check the breakers and realized there was smoke in the house, so they got out quickly and called 911.
"It went really fast," said Bleich, who talked to a neighboring farmer, who had just passed the house and saw some of the kids outside playing, then just 2 miles down the road he saw smoke boiling up from the house. Bleich said the exact cause of the fire is not known, but it sounded like an electrical problem.
The Rossville Fire Department was called in for mutual aid, and Bleich said Rankin firefighters were called out again about 12:30 a.m. Thursday to knock down a hot spot that flared up again.