A McDuffie County couple and their three small children are homeless after fire swept through their mobile home during the midst of a severe thunderstorm last Wednesday morning.
Although everyone managed to escape unharmed, the family lost practically all of their personal belongings.
The doublewide mobile home, owned by Marcus Boyd and located in the southern end of McDuffie County, off Hobbs Mill Road, had been home to Bobby and Tiffany Taylor for the past two years.
A storm, packing strong winds, is believed to have caused a large pine tree to fall onto a power pole, knocking down lines and causing a shortage in the electrical panel box inside the home about 6:30 a.m.
Capt. Bobby Reynolds of the McDuffie County Fire/Rescue Services said the preliminary cause of the fire is the storm, which carried with it vivid lightening and heavy rain.
A short time after she and her children returned home from taking her husband to work, Mrs. Taylor said she heard "a big boom" sound.
"I looked outside and saw that a tree had fallen onto a power pole and caused power lines to fall down. The lights went out."
She later smelled smoke and quickly got some of her personal belongings and loaded up the family vehicle.
"I didn't want my children or myself to be in the house, if it was on fire," Mrs. Taylor said.
Mr. and Mrs. Taylor have three children, ages 6, 5 and 7 months. Mr. Taylor works for McGahee Sanitation Service near Dearing, while Mrs. Taylor works at Little Rascals, a day care provider, in Thomson.
A few minutes later, flames appeared around an electrical panel box near her sons' front bedroom.
More than a dozen firefighters battled thick smoke and heavy rain before bringing the blaze under control.
Since the fire, the Taylor family has received help from the American Red Cross Augusta Chapter. They are temporarily living in a mobile home that was provided to them by members of Fort Creek Baptist Church near Dearing.
Mr. Boyd said he had insurance on the 30-year-old dwelling, but doesn't believe it can be repaired.