Family Finally At Home After Devastating Loss

By: Stephen McLamb
By: Stephen McLamb

Blount County (WVLT) Its been seven months since a tragic house fire in Friendsville.

In February, Ross and Amanda Debuty lost four of their five children when a fire destroyed their home.

Since that day, the community has rallied around the family, helping them rebuild.

The project "One Home, Many Hands" had volunteers throughout East Tennessee build a new home for Ross, Amanda and their son Raymond.

They're enjoying their first night in their fully furnished home.

Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb was there when the tragedy happened and was there today.

It's been such an emotional roller-coaster for the Debuty family as they spent most of the day this past February crying, and today, much of the day has been spent smiling.

Seven months to the day of the fire, the Debuty family has a new home.

All thanks to the donations of material from businesses and time and effort of volunteers.

Brooks Brown, with RM Technologies says, "we didn't spend a dime. No one said no to us. It was unbelievable. I mean, it really emphasizes the community spirit in East Tennessee."

Thursday, everyone gathered together to wish the Debuty's well and thank everyone involved.

The new home also has a playground for the Debuty's surviving child Raymond.

Amanda Debuty says, "oh, he loves it. We got up there and he goes...Momma can we camp out?"

Pictures of all the Debuty's children, Mandy, J.T, Sinjin, Shelbea and Raymond line the wall of the home.

"It's nice to be able to walk by and see their faces."

But with the tragedy, some families would break apart, but Ross and Amanda say they're closer now.

Ross Debuty says, "you know as much as it tugs at you opposite directions, it helps solidify what you have."

Amanda continues, "it's him and me and Raymond and that's kind of it so we don't have a choice you know. We're grateful it's that way."

After the ceremony the crowd went away and the Debuty's begin their new life in a new home.

Ross says, "it will be great. It will be something that we're looking forward to, just to have our family all in one place together, and our own place."

The debuty's say they're excited about moving in.

But Ross says it's going to be bittersweet because today marks the day seven months ago of the fire.

He says he's looking forward to a sense of normalcy.


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