Seymour home, Christmas gifts destroyed in fire

Published: Dec. 19, 2018 at 10:36 PM EST
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James Yates looks on at his Seymour home Wednesday afternoon. All he can see now is 40 years of charred memories after a fire burned down the house and almost everything inside Monday night.

"The corner of the porch was on fire," Yates said. He tried to grab his watering hose to put it out, but the flames spread too fast. "I just had to stand back and watch it go -- there was nothing I could do with it."

Seymour Volunteer Fire Department responded around 6:05 p.m. Monday. The fire chief told WVLT News that crews were able to put out the flames by around 6:45 p.m.

James, his wife and their two grandchildren were able to escape the flames. But they left everything else behind, including Christmas gifts and a tree.

"What bothers me more probably is the kids not being able to have a Christmas," Yates said.

Even in the debris, the Seymour family unwrapped a Christmas gift from strangers.

"People I don't even know bringing clothes and shoes."

The Seymour community is collecting donations for the Yates family. Everything from clothes to pet supplies. The family is currently living in James' mother's home after she passed away this summer. James and his wife are no strangers to suffering. Just a couple of years ago their daughter died in a car crash.

But he said his neighbors gave him the strength to rebuild.

"This is my home. I'm going to build it back if I'm alive long enough; that's what I'm going to do," he said. "I thank all of them from the bottom of my heart. I thank all of them."

The Seymour Volunteer Fire Department determined the fire was accidental. There were no injuries reported.