Three kids in state custody after deadly fire in Townsend

By: Lorena Estrada
By: Lorena Estrada

TOWNSEND, Tenn. (WVLT)-- Smoke still lingered above what used to be a family's home Monday afternoon.

An early morning fire left one woman dead and destroyed the home on the 200 block of Webb Road in Townsend. Authorities haven't released the identity of the woman. An autopsy revealed the preliminary cause of death as smoke inhalation/

The three kids ages 5, 8 and 12 who lived at the home were able to get out of the house. But they still weren't out of harms way.

"Our first two firefighters on scene found the three children in an SUV parked close to the house. The SUV was in the first stages of actually catching on fire," Townsend Fire Chief Don Stallions said.

The kids got out just in time.

Community members told Local 8 News the children were taken to New Hope Blount County Children's Advocacy Center. Executive Director Trudy Hughes said their main goal is to help children deal with tragedy.

"Today there are certain elements of just dealing with shock and awareness of the incident," Hughes said.

Hughes also said the center received dozens of calls from people asking how they can help the children, and dozens more went by the center to drop off clothes and food.

"Part of the experience of growing and recovering from a trauma like this is knowing your fellow man did reach out to you," Hughes said.

She also said one person dropped off dog food and treats after learning a dog managed to escape the fire, too.

According to those who know the family, the kids were in the care of friends and church members from Bethel Baptist Church most of Monday afternoon because their father recently died. Relatives live out of state.

The kids are now in state custody until it is decided with whom they will live.

A fund was created at US Bank for the Kallstrom Family. Bethel Baptist Church is also accepting donations.

You can drop them off or mail them to: 132 Bethel Road. Townsend, Tennessee. 37882

The New Hope Blount County Children's Advocacy Center will also be setting up a fund in the next few days.

According to the Blount County Sheriff's Office, the body found inside the home was taken to UT Medical for an autopsy. They're expected to release the name of the victim on Tuesday.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.


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