A Covington family has been displaced by a fire investigators believe was caused by illegal use of fireworks.
“Someone determined that a firework came through the window,” said Covington Fire Chief Richard Griggs.
Though they’re sold for weeks beforehand, it is illegal to shoot fireworks in Covington except on Jan. 1, July 4 and Dec. 31.
The South High Street home was heavily damaged by the fire.
Mamie Brasfield said her children – two teenagers and a fourth grader – were at their father’s house and she was visiting a friend when the fire happened.
“My friend lives around the corner and I heard the fire trucks but I didn’t think anything of it,” she said Thursday.
As she got closer to home she saw the first responders’ vehicles. A few days prior there had been a grass fire, she said, and she thought perhaps that’s what had happened again.
“I remember thinking, ‘These daggone teenagers are going to burn everything down!'”
And then she saw firefighters were actually at her house.
Witnesses told her several people had been seen shooting fireworks at each other. When one of them came through the window it ignited her son’s bed and burned her kids’ bedrooms.
If it had been her week, the kids would have been sleeping there. And she would have been sleeping as well.
“I’m a sound sleeper. I’m not sure I would have known anything was wrong until it was too late.”
Their cat, Charlie Cleo, died in the fire and they lost almost everything they own.
“We saved a fridge and dryer, a table and chair, we have one bed frame,” she said. “We also have some little knick knacks we were able to save.”
And the tragedy doesn’t end there.
Her grandfather died the following day and she has had to make a trip to the emergency room because she injured herself.
“God doesn’t give us more than we can handle, though,” she said.
Mamie and her children had only lived in the home for less than a year. They moved to the house in an effort to downsize while she underwent surgeries and treatment for ovarian cancer. She got a clean scan on April 2 and returns next week for another.
The Red Cross gave them $670 for a hotel room and medications and she has been busy with trying to find a new home. She’s looking for a 3- or 4-bedroom for less than $1,000/month.
The family has also received clothing, household goods and monetary donations. A GoFundMe has also been set up.
“Everything you can imagine having in a home is what we need,” she said.
In the meantime, the investigation is ongoing.
The fire department and Covington police have developed some good leads, Griggs said.
“We’re trying to determine the information, but it’s going to be a tough job to get someone to accept responsibility for this.”
This hasn’t been the first Covington home lost to fireworks, either.
On July 4, 2018, the home of then-alderman John Edwards was also destroyed by the misuse of fireworks. The investigation determined teenagers were responsible.
Anyone with information about Saturday’s fire is asked to contact the Covington Fire Department at 901-476-2578.