Atmore family loses "everything" in fire

Published 10:38 pm Thursday, September 23, 2004

By By Arthur McLean
An Atmore woman suffered burns and her family lost their home when an unattended candle led to a house fire early Sunday morning.
Lisa Colbert suffered 3rd degree burns to her hands and part of her face from the fire and was in intensive care at Atmore Community Hospital. She was moved from intensive care Monday evening.
Colbert, her husband James Colbert, and her sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew were in the home on Tatom Avenue when the fire broke out.
The family made it out of the burning home with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. When Lisa Colbert when back inside the home to save the family's puppies, she suffered the burns.
The fire gutted the home. "We lost everything," said James Colbert. "I was in my underwear and she was in her gown. A neighbor gave me a shirt and pair of pants."
James Colbert has kept a bedside vigil by his wife, taking time to come to his in-law's house to rest.
"I've never seen something burn so fast in my life," he said. "I don't know where we'll stay when she gets out. We've lived there for 15 years, it was everything we had."
The cause of the fire was an unattended candle burning in the home's master bedroom, according to the family and the Atmore Fire Department. "I woke up to her yelling fire," Colbert said.
The Atmore Fire Department responded to the scene about 4:30 a.m. Sunday, said fire chief Gerry McGhee. "I'm grateful to the help of the city utilities, Atmore and Poarch Police Departments and the Highway Patrol for their help," McGhee said.
For the Colbert's recovery from the effects of Hurricane Ivan became a much longer road. "My billfold, my last paycheck were all lost," Colbert said. "Even the keys to our cars were melted in the fire."

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