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Families look at glass half full after having everything taken from house fires

Published: Jan. 23, 2022 at 9:44 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - This weekend, two families are left them with practically nothing after their homes caught fire.

The first happened Friday night at the corner of Spottswood and Boston in Orange Mound.

Felicia Diane Martin said she smelled something burning.

“...and I ran all over the house. I couldn’t find it. I’m like ‘Oh Lord where is it?’”

Martin eventually located the source of the smell, coming from her refrigerator, and attempted to smother it with a blanket.

“By the time I got back to it, a few seconds, it had just flared up,” she said.

The fire spread rapidly, but she, her husband and youngest son were able to get out in time.

The fire spared nothing.

The home, according to Martin, was 112 years old, built by her grandfather in 1910.

It was a home that everyone in the neighborhood visited, now a pile of rubble.

“On the porch, in the house, spent the night, it was just a neighborhood house,” said Martin. “No one could’ve paid me to believe this would happen. I would have never, in a million years, believed this would happen.”

Martin said she was in the process of fixing the house up to apply for home insurance but is now left with almost nothing and no means of getting back what’s been lost.

The next morning in Millington, the Johnson family was going about their normal routine.

The parents, Meghan and Justin, were in Bartlett at Gould’s Academy.

Meghan is a teacher and Justin a student.

They left their three kids at home with a grandparent.

“My oldest daughter, Skylah, she called me. She’s like ‘Mae Mae, the dryer caught the house on fire,” Meghan said.

Meghan and Justin arrived to Hamlet Road blocked off by first responders, their rental home of nearly 7 years up in flames, but the kids and grandmother were safe.

The Johnson parents found out it was their 7 year old son, Ja’Kobe, who saved everyone, as his grandmother and two older sisters were asleep at the time of the fire.

“I saw the smoke in the kitchen above the ceiling,” Ja’Kobe said. “Then, I saw... Then I followed the smoke. Then, I saw the flames in the laundry room. Then, me and my sisters, we woke up my Nana. Then, we ran out the house.”

“I grabbed Ja’Kobe, and I let him know that he is the reason why everybody’s OK,” his mom said.

The family dog, Trini died in the fire, which made Ja’Kobe emotional, but he said he still feels like a little hero.

“My daddy called me Superman,” he said with a smile.

Now the Johnsons look to find a new home, and the outpouring of support from family and friends has them overwhelmed.

“We have so many people rallying behind us, collecting donations for clothes and trying to refurnish whenever we decide to move or whenever we get to a new place,” Meghan said. “It’s just... I can only say thank you.”

Both families, the Johnsons and Martins, have GoFundMe’s set up for anyone who feels called to donate and help.

The Martin family GoFundMe can be found here.

The Johnson family GoFundMe can be found here.

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