Community supports couple after housefire
Newlyweds Barbara and Tony Pennington were getting ready for a friend’s funeral on chilly Saturday morning. Just minutes after turning on the heat, the smell of smoke flooded the home.
Barbara says it all happened quickly. "So, I looked up in the living room vent, and I saw smoke coming out, and so I ran up, got to the heater, turned it off right away and then all of a sudden the smoke alarm started going off and I heard him screaming."
Her husband, a double amputee, was unable to get out of bed and was up to his chest in black smoke. "He couldn’t find his legs, and he was choking.”
She ran outside to for help, and neighbors poured in. The fire was quickly put out and the couple was taken to the hospital. The Penningtons are now back at their home, sifting through the devastation. While neither Barbara nor Tony has family here on the coast, their church family was quick to lend a helping hand. Some who don’t even know the couple are reaching out.
“I still don’t know what their names are but one of the ladies, she is paying for a month of storage so that we can store our stuff, because we obviously can’t keep it out here," says Barbara.
Troy Meacham, a church friend, is glad to step in. "We’ve been taking out all the burnt debris and salvaging as much of the furniture as we could and just trying to clean up."
And while the two are grateful to have each other, the family is still not complete without their two pet cats Delilah and Claire Bear, who also escaped safely. "I don’t have children so they’re my four legged kids covered with fur," says Barbara.
The couple is staying a few nights at a local hotel until they can get back on their feet, thanks to friends who are sticking close as the Penningtons pick up the pieces to rebuild lives.