John and Pam Head told The Brazil Times they narrowly escaped the home they had recently moved into.
"We went to bed at 9:30 p.m., but around 10:30 I woke up choking and coughing," Pam said. "The room was full of smoke and I could see flames down the hallway in the living room."
The couple said they had just enough time to grab their cell phones, a blanket and one of their dogs before they got out of the trailer.
"That's it. There wasn't time to get anything else out," Pam said, and fought back tears when she explained they lost other pets, including another dog, a puppy and two birds in the fire. "Basically, we got out with our lives."
Due to the major remodeling project in the trailer, John said the couple did not have homeowner's insurance.
"This is devastating. We just finished putting down the carpet the other day," John said. "We were going to call the insurance company today."
According to John, the financial devastation doesn't stop there.
"We lost both our vehicles in the fire too," he said, pointing at a burned pickup truck and a heavily scorched SUV parked near the trailer. "There was only $600 left to pay on the truck, but it's of no use now. Everything's gone."
The couple, which is currently staying with a family member who lives across the street, said it was very emotional to watch the fire and wait for help to arrive.
Meanwhile, some Van Buren Volunteer Fire Department firefighters responding to the fire scene in a tanker truck experienced a technical difficulty on the way.
"There was an odd smell in the cab and then flames shot up behind the driver's seat," Van Buren Fire Chief Pete Taylor said. "They used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire. No one was hurt."
Members of Dick Johnson Volunteer Fire Department were immediately dispatched to provide tanker assistance.
Because a trailer can potentially become fully engulfed within seven minutes from the start of a fire, Taylor said, "John and Pam were very lucky."
The couple -- who have helped others in their times of need but never needed any help themselves -- agreed.
"So many people have offered to help us. People we don't even know have called and come by to check on us," Pam told The Brazil Times as tears ran down her cheeks. "It's been so overwhelming to see how people really rise to the occasion and come together during tragic events. There are a lot of good people out there in the community. I can't call everyone and tell them how much we appreciate what they have done for us, but if you could tell them how thankful we really are, that would be wonderful."
Pike Lumber Company officials have agreed to accept donations on behalf of John and Pam Head.
John, who is employed at Pike, wears size 15 shoes, 44x30 pants and 3-4x shirts.
Pam wears size 7 1/2 shoes, 16-18 pants and extra-large shirts. She also lost her eyeglasses during the fire.
For more information about what the family might need or how to drop off donations, contact Leslie Sharton at Pike Lumber Company, 440 West County Road 1450 North, Carbon, at 448-3961.