Goodman Street family of four loses it all in house fire

By BEVERLY CASTEEL,

Imagine going to bed after telling your three children good night, only to awake in a smoke-filled house. That is exactly what happened to Latonya Rimmer in the wee hours of the morning of Sunday, Oct. 6, at her home on Goodman Street.

“I take my heart meds before bed, and they make me need to use the bathroom. When I got up in the night to go, the house was filled with smoke. I screamed for everyone to wake up. I’m so thankful that God woke me up,” said Rimmer.

Rimmer’s daughter, LaRhonda Williams, 24, was sleeping on the sofa in the living room when the fire broke out. When she awoke, she immediately went out the front door and started searching for her family, leaving her much-needed eye glasses inside to burn.

Luckily, 12-year-old Brenton Rimmer had decided to sleep in the shed next door to the house that night; therefore, Williams only had to find her mother and 8-year-old brother, Caden Rimmer.

In the meantime, Rimmer grabbed towels and led Caden and herself toward the bedroom window. When she moved over to avoid running into the bed, she and Caden became separated in the thick smoke, making it difficult to see.

“The smoke had taken his breath, and he couldn’t even scream,” said Rimmer.

Outside, Williams had found a broom, knocked the air conditioner out of the window, and then busted the window.

Although Rimmer cut her hand and got some scrapes and bruises in the process, she was able to escape through the broken window with the help of her daughter and ex-husband, who lives a few doors down.

Then they started screaming for Caden to come to the window.

By that time, the fire department had arrived and they were able to pull Caden out through the same window to safety. They extinguished the fire and made sure everyone got to the hospital for medical evaluation and treatment.

The fire department later determined the fire had started in an electrical socket in the rear bedroom, where Brenton normally would have been asleep had he not moved to the shed that evening.

“My brother is a real heavy sleeper, and I am so thankful that he didn’t sleep in his room. He would not have made it out,” said Williams tearfully.

The family is still in shock and recovering from the harrowing experience.

“It was really hard for me. I was so scared I would lose both my mother and my brother. I am definitely not okay,” said Williams of the ordeal. “It’s been very difficult for (Brenton) because he was afraid for a few minutes that he might be the only family member left.”

Rimmer said Caden remains upset, as well.

“Of course, my 8-year-old is really upset about losing all of his clothes and toys,” said Rimmer.

Rimmer, a single mother on a fixed income, said the family lost everything in the blaze. While they need furniture, they still do not have a permanent place to live at this time.

Williams was referred to Monday night’s Shepherd’s Touch clinic, where Dr. Larry Routt was able to provide an eye exam and order her a new pair of glasses at no cost to the family. The glasses should arrive later this week.

If you would like to help

If you would like to help the family recover, donations are needed for everything, especially school clothes and shoes for the young boys.

Brenton and Caden need boys’ clothing:

Sizes needed are boys’ pants, 8-10; boys’ shirts, 10-12; boys’ pants, 32-34; boys’ shirts, large; boys’ shoes, 10 ½ and 3 ½-4.

Latonya and LaRhonda also need clothing:

Sizes needed are ladies’ pants, 18; ladies’ shirts, large and x-large; ladies’ pants, 22; ladies’ shirts, 1X and 2X; ladies’ shoes, 9 ½-10 and 10 ½-11.

To donate, you can call Latonya Rimmer at 662-792-6459.