Family Of 8 Loses Everything In House Fire

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MART (January 31, 2014) Jimmy and Patty Whitlock returned Friday to the charred rubble of what used to be their home.

Jimmy and Patty Whitlock returned Friday to the rubble of what used to be their home. (Photo by John Carroll)

The house at 302 North Carpenter St. in Mart was destroyed by fire Thursday afternoon.

The Whitlocks, who have both undergone surgery in the last three weeks, and their two children shared the house with Jimmy Whitlock’s cousin’s wife and her three children.

On Friday, the three adults and five children, who range in age from 8 to 16, were all staying with Jimmy Whitlock’s parents in a small frame house in Mart.

The fire destroyed not only their home, but also just about everything they owned.

The Whitlocks and their son were home when the fire started.

They escaped safely, but then Jimmy Whitlock decided to take a chance and ran back inside in an attempt to retrieve some valuables.

He almost didn’t make it out.

“The flames were already coming past me and I couldn't hardly breathe,” he said Friday.

“So I just turned towards the floor and put my mouth towards the floor took a couple of good breaths and I ran through (a glass door).”

He suffered minor injuries and smoke inhalation, for which paramedics treated him at the scene.

Jimmy Whitlock, 43, recently built an evidence room and put in new flooring and new ceilings at the Mart Police Department, police Chief David Monthey said.

Now the department is accepting donations for Whitlock’s family, Monthey said.

The fire was reported just after 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

Firefighters from Mart, Leroy-Axtell, and Elk responded.

Gusty winds threatened to spread the flames, but firefighters were able to contain the blaze.