LAKELAND, Fla. — Maeghan Henderson's son felt the heat before he opened his eyes to see the flames.
She says the 12-year-old then ran to the room she shares with her husband to wake them up.
“We tried to put it out," Henderson recalled. "But it was already in the ceiling, there was nothing we could do.”
The fire sparked just after midnight Thursday at the family's home on Savannah Avenue in west Lakeland. The culprit: A space heater that had apparently tipped over in the boy’s bedroom.
“He thinks he might’ve just pushed it and he was half asleep and just went back to bed," Henderson said. "About an hour later he woke up and his whole room was just … it was so bright.”
The home had no working smoke alarms, something Henderson isn't proud to admit but she says she's just thankful everybody made it out alive, including the family dog.
Their house is a total loss but Henderson says Christmas is not.
“I got to save some of his Christmas presents which were in our front closet so it was the farthest away from the fire," she said. "When the room collapsed our clothes collapsed with it so they provided insulation for his Christmas presents.”
Henderson says it's all reason enough to stay positive this holiday. They'll be staying with relatives who live nearby.
Despite the limited insurance they had, she said they plan to rebuild the family home which was passed down to them by her late grandmother.
"The outreach from my family and friends, they've just been so supportive," she said. "We're gonna get through this, we'll build it back up."
The family also set up a GoFundMe for donations.
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