Area rallies around family who lost home in fire

Published 8:31 pm Wednesday, January 10, 2018


ENGELHARD — When the Gibbs family went to bed last Saturday, they never dreamed they’d lose their home by morning.

But that’s what happened in the early morning hours when a short in the home’s electrical wiring caused a fire, which traveled through an outlet and caught one of the beds on fire.

The Gibbses may have lost all of their possessions, but they didn’t lose everything. Everyone is alive and safe. The fire started in 11-year-old Tate’s room, but he was luckily spending the night with a friend.

“The puppy was barking, and I just kind of thought she wanted out, so I was hoping if I just let her lay there for a few minutes, she would stop, and after about 20 minutes when she didn’t, I got up to go get her, and everything was dark, you know, and I could smell what smelled like burning sugar,” mother Lori Gibbs said. “I turned the light on, and all I could see was smoke.”

In the rush of the moment, Gibbs said she thought she could put out the fire. Within about 30 minutes, though, fire had overtaken the house.

At around 4 a.m. Saturday, Engelhard Volunteer Fire Department arrived, soon followed by Fairfield and Swan Quarter fire departments and Hyde County Sheriff’s Office. Gibbs’ older son Benjamin is a volunteer firefighter, so he immediately jumped into action, as well.

Crews worked for hours to extinguish the blaze, and the house reignited a few times during the following day. The community began to pitch in even before the flames were out.

“To everyone who stopped and asked our deputies if they could get them some coffee or do anything to help … thank you, you are part of making this community a better place,” reads a Facebook post from Hyde County Sheriff’s Office. “To the anonymous donor that brought every firefighter, medic and LEO biscuits from the Gas Bar, that helped lift spirits and warm everyone up a little, so thank you!”

People from the Hyde County community and beyond were also quick to rally around the Gibbs family. Gibbs said Dare to Hyde has given the family a place to stay until they can find a new home. Clothing items have also come in by the droves.

“It’s been overwhelming, just the amount of support we’ve received,” she said. “It’s just been, you know, blessing upon blessing.”

Gibbs said she believes the fire is a part of God’s plan, and the family intends to rely on him during this time.

“We can’t say thank you enough, and thank you is not even the right words. I don’t know what the right words are. It’s just incredible,” Gibbs said.

The Gibbs family is now in need of home items. Those interested in donating should call Rhonda Topping at 252-943-4131. Donations are also welcome via the GoFundMe page at