Blount County (WVLT) - Already, the Blount County community is responding to this destructive fire with an outpouring of love and support.
Volunteer TV's Gary Loe reports help is coming from many sources -- from those you would expect, like the Red Cross -- and others, from people who've never met the Debuty family.
Strangers who've felt a connection to the family who suffered the losses of 4 children, their home, and most of their possessions are making certain their physical needs are met.
"We wanted to touch them, touch the community ourselves, and just let them know we're thinking about them, praying about them," donator Travis Weeks said.
Dozens bring emergency items for the Debuty family here to the Blount County chapter of the American Red Cross.
"Look at all these things that the community has showered upon us. Someone came with shoes," said Betty Hale from the Blount County chapter of the American Red Cross.
Executive director Betty Hale says the bare essentials for survival are piling up. Meantime, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, where the Debuty's worship, are helping with emotional needs.
Bishop Dwight Anderson says, quote, "The church has had death before, but nothing like this. We're going to be supporting them on a daily basis over the next months as they work through this. This will be a challenge for them, but they do have good support."
Back at the red cross, callers from as far away as Georgia offer help.
Emergency physical needs for the Debuty family will be met, but the bishop says many, many prayers are now needed.
"We've handed out a lot of tissues today, and we've given a lot of hugs," Hale said.
The Debuty family is in need of items like all cotton clothing, size 4T as well as size 9 boys shoes. They also need women's shirts and pants, size 3X. Size 11 women's shoes and men's overalls, size 48/32, size 3X shirts and size 12 shoes.
You can also call the Red Cross at 865-983-0821.
By the way, the last time Blount County residents were faced with an emergency to aid community members due to a deadly fire was 4 years ago. In January 2003, five elderly residents of the Home Away From Home assisted living center lost their lives.
The following year, Governor Bredesen signed a bill requiring sprinkler systems in all nursing homes and assisted living centers.
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