Renee DuPree was working in the deli at the Ingles grocery store in Gray two weeks ago.
It was a Sunday morning, and she was about to drop 200 pieces of chicken into the fryer to get ready for the rush of the after-church lunch crowd.
Instead, she received a phone call from home. She couldn’t believe her ears.
It was at this time last year when Renee and her family survived a fire at their mobile home on Old Gordon Road. It badly damaged two rooms, but the DuPrees were able to recover, rebuild and move back in the five-room home on the property where her husband, Tim, grew up.
This time, however, the news stunned her. Her home was going up in flames. Again.
“When they told me, I almost couldn’t comprehend it,’’ she said.
The DuPree family lost nearly everything they owned in the Nov. 16 fire. Furniture, appliances and clothes were burned almost beyond recognition.
They also lost several items that can never be replaced.
Tim lost a ring that had belonged to his father. Renee lost a family Bible.
“I had worn the pages out in that Bible,’’ she said.
Tim had walked up to eat breakfast with his mother, Claire, who lives in a mobile home on the front of the property. His 4-year-old grandson, Jaxon, was with him. A cousin, Shane DuPree stopped by to visit and noticed the smoke coming from the mobile home.
“He kicked in the door thinking we might be in there,’’ Tim said. “The fire was roaring. We got what we could off the porch, but everything else was a total loss.’’
Because it was a Sunday morning, it took almost 45 minutes for volunteers from the fire department to arrive. The cause of the fire has not been determined.
The New Season Worship Center, MaconSmiles, the Red Cross and employees at Ingles are assisting the family. The Reindeer Gang is also asking for financial donations, as well as clothes and furniture.
For more information about The Reindeer Gang, contact Ed Grisamore at 744-4275 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org