COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A Columbus family is persevering and celebrating despite a tragedy that’s left them without a home.
A family of 18 — the Towns — had to relocate after a fire destroyed part of their house.
The Towns family is doing everything it can to keep things as normal as possible. Despite what they’ve lost, they’re focusing on what’s important.
And right now, that’s celebrating a life accomplishment for one of their daughters.
Despite tragedy at home, Christin Towns walked across the stage at the Greater Columbus Convention Center to receive her high school diploma.
“We prepared the house also for the graduation, which was today, but the fire…” said L.B. Towns.
He hosted a surprise graduation party for Christin at a local hotel.
That’s where they’ve been staying since Sunday after the fire ripped through their home.
“Whole lotta repairs; the whole back of the house is burnt up. It’s kids’ room burnt up all the stuff. No, we’re not going to be able to get in at least for a couple of months,” said L.B.
He says he’s not dwelling on loss. It’s about keeping the family positive and celebrating what they do have.
L.B.’s 2nd eldest daughter Labrena says she was at church when she got the call.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared, you know, because there’s so many of them. Because we’ve heard tragedies of people not making it out of a fire. So then you wanna have hope but I didn’t have hope at that time,” she said remembering the fear that went through her that day.
Thankfully all the kids made it out of the home the day of the fire, and no one was hurt.
Right now, Labrena says she’s working on getting what her family needs. “Everything is needed. The biggest thing I can say is a house. I know that’s farfetched but that’s the biggest thing. [And] clothing, hygiene products,” she said.
L.B. says the house was not insured, but they’ve gotten a lot of support from the community. Some are offering prayers, and others are donating to get them back on their feet.
“Where do we go from here?” questioned L.B. “I trust God. I have nothing to say but keep praying for us. Those that have helped us out, I appreciate you being in our corner.”
The Towns will be staying in the hotel for the time being. They’ve had to book three rooms to fit everyone in.