House fireA Lake Monticello family is safe after escaping an early-morning fire that destroyed their home on Seminole Trail in Cherokee Section today.

Delton and Donna Hanson were asleep in the basement master suite when Delton awoke to see their ceiling in flames at around 3:40 a.m. on Monday (Aug 21).

They were able to get their children and the family dogs outside and call the Lake Monticello Fire Department for help. One daughter sustained minor burns on her hand as they exited.

Hanson said the smoke detectors didn’t go off until the house was almost fully engulfed in flames.

Firefighters did what they could to salvage some of the family’s possessions while extinguishing the fire, but the fast-moving blaze left little behind. While the cause of the fire is currently under investigation, Hanson said it may have originated with the outside air conditioning unit and fed into the house through the ductwork.

Surveying the remains of his home of 15 years, Hanson was grateful they had survived, but felt the loss of so many memories and mementos.

“I grabbed our wedding picture on the way out,” he said, but there hadn’t been time to save much else. They lost “all the girls’ soccer things, my oldest daughters’ things from theater productions in high school, her ruby slippers,”  he said.

Within hours of the fire, the community had mobilized to help. Neighbors and the Red Cross were on hand in the immediate aftermath of the fire. Their faith community at The Point and friends at Effort Church had been in contact, along with the extended local soccer community.
Friends were using social media to arrange donations to help them as they recover and regroup. 

Monday’s blaze marks the fourth major blaze at Lake Monticello this year. A mother and daughter escaped a late-night fire at their Jefferson Drive home on February 7. Two other families were displaced after separate fires on Riverside Drive and Patriot Lane on February 21.