Local Community Deals With Tragic Loss

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Friendsville, Blount County (WVLT) - Because of the scope of the fire and the size of the community where it happened, just about everyone is feeling the pain associated with today's loss.

Volunteer TV's Kim Bedford has more on how people in the community are coping.

Friendsville community members say they've dealt with tragedies before but nothing like this.

The tight knit community says together they'll get through this.

Mark Grubb, the Blount County Sheriff's Department chaplain says, "this is a time where our communities gotta come together and really reach out to this family and show them the love of God."

Grubb says hes been at Friendsville Elementary school all day with dozens of grief counselors.

"It just seems like a dream or a movie to them right now. that the reality hasn't really set in."

Four young children, 7 year old Shelby, 10 year old Sinjin, 12 year old Jerry, and 14 year old Mandolin all killed in their own home, now students are asking why.

Grubb continues, "we just try to help them understand that it was an accident that it was a tragedy, it wasn't intentional and its OK to feel sad."

Grubb says the students aren't the only ones feeling the pain.

"The staff is the ones we're really concerned about right now. they're trying to be strong for these kids right now."

Amy Buchanan, who taught one of the children says, "Devastation, when i found out that it was 4 children i thought it has to be somebody i know."

Buchanan was right.

She taught 10 year old Singin in preschool.

"He was precious he was a great kid he was really spunky and loved everybody."

Buchanan says God will help this small community pull through.

"You just have to put your faith in him and let the children know that there's a reason for this. We may not know but one day we will."

So many school children are wondering where the four siblings are now.

Grubb says, "I believe they're in heaven. I believe they are with the lord. They are not going to have to suffer anymore."

Buchanan says, "I'll see them again one day. We'll be up there together."
A family friend tells WVLT, parents Amy and Ross Debuty are doing as well as can be expected right now.

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