News 12 at 11 o'clock / Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Thanksgiving Day offered Stephanie Amerson a table of mixed blessings.
"I can't get that scenery of what [I saw] last night out of my head. To see my babies' home and my home and everything we've ever had to go up in flames and to walk away from it but nothing but it burnt to the ground," Amerson said.
Her mobile home on Windsor Spring Road caught fire early Thursday morning. That afternoon, a yard once filled with five playful children was scattered with melted toys.
"I lost sentimental stuff, I lost clothes, I lost house appliances, I mean, everything that me and these kids owned. Everything," she said.
But it's what she didn't lose that still sends a glimmer of hope through her heart. Three of her five children were in the home with her at the time, but they all got out safely.
"And just as I got them out into my front yard, the rest of it went up in flames. I just did get these kids out in time," Amerson said.
But Amerson says God played a bigger role through her newborn, Dakota.
"It was time for his feeding, he wanted a bottle, and he woke me up crying. I got up to get his bottle and heard flames popping and smoke everywhere. Had he not [woken] me up, I don't think any of us would have [woken] up in time. I really don't. I don't think none of us would. I think we would have slept through it," she said.
Amerson and her other children enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal with family down the road.
The holiday means a little more to Amerson this time around.
"You never know how fast something can be taken from you until it happens. I mean, my kids lost their home and everything they had in just five minutes. Five minutes," Amerson said.
But now, those children walk around without even shoes on their feet, and they even sleep on the cold floor of a family member's home. But with all the loss and all the grief, their playfulness continues and a mother's embrace remains strongly intact.
The Red Cross is assisting the family. They met with Amerson and the children this afternoon. She says the community has also been very supportive so far. Of course, she welcomes any donations.
To reach the family, you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at (706) 691-6817.