Home Burns Down While Owners Visit Gatlinburg Supporting Fire Victims

Posted at 6:18 PM, Dec 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-23 19:53:11-05

A Tennessee couple's home burned down while they were in Gatlinburg supporting wildfire victims.

Jessica Tammaro grew up with her family in a small, East Tennessee town. She said her father, Louie taught his children to be loving, giving and kind.

"He was vice mayor of our little town of 500 people," she recalled with a smile. 

He lead by example, always willing to help others who needed it. That's what he and his wife were doing this weekend during a trip to Gatlinburg. The city is open after deadly wildfires killed 14 people, burned thousands of structures and devastated the state park late last month.

"Those people have nothing. I mean those places are down to the foundations," Louie said. 

This past weekend was a stimulus weekend and the Tammaros were there to show their support. However, while in Gatlinburg Sunday they got a call from officials in their home county, their house was on fire.

 "Whenever he told me their house was on fire, I said who's house is on fire? What happened? Who lost their house because I thought he was talking about someone maybe we knew in Gatlinburg," said Jessica. 

While supporting the Gatlinburg victims the Tammaros became fire victims themselves. Thankfully, no one was injured but the house is a total loss.

More bad news followed the day after. While they have insurance, it's not enough to replace what was lost, now they're the ones who need help.

"We got a good deal on the house as a foreclosure so I just insured for a little more than that, never thinking that I'd have to replace it as is," said Louie. 

"I think its heartbreaking that they're having to ask for help because they're always the ones helping others," Jessica said. 

Days before Christmas the Tammaros don't have a home to go back to. Instead they're sifting through what's left of their burned down home. "They're finding treasures through all this muck while other people are getting new treasures for Christmas and things like that," Jessica said.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Loui and Helen Tammaro.