UPDATE: Children playing with a lighter spark house fire - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Children playing with a lighter spark house fire

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- A family with six children was left homeless Thursday afternoon when their Highland Park home caught fire.

"It represents a lot of memories, this is my grandmother's house," said Claudette McClendon, "it's just sad that it's gone."

Claudette McClendon and all of her cousins grew up in the house at 2109 E. 12th Street. Her granny lived in the home until she passed.

Late Thursday afternoon, smoke flooded the home when a bed caught fire.

"It was mostly smoke, but it got most of the rooms," said McClendon.

On the outside, siding hangs from the melted exterior. Inside what didn't burn is covered in soot.

"They was playing with the lighter, it was the kids," she told Channel 3, the mattress was on fire and we tried to put it out, but it just went up in flames."

McClendon and her aunt were home when the fire started. Her children and their cousins were playing in the bedroom. Fire officials say one of the children found a lighter in his mother's purse.

Fire crews arrived in minutes and put the fire out, but the excitement was too much for McClendon's aunt.

"She was transported to a local hospital, Parkridge Medical Center," said Bruce Garner, spokesperson for Chattanooga Fire Department, "but based on what the firefighters are telling me, her injuries are not related to the fire itself."

Thursday evening, family members gathered outside the home to figure out what is next. Without insurance, they aren't sure how they will make repairs.

"If anybody out there can help us, we need anybody," said McClendon, "God will give you blessings too, we need any help."

The Chattanooga chapter of the American Red Cross is assisting the family by proving hotel vouchers for three nights.

The fire caused an estimated $20,000 in damage.

Stay with Channel 3 for more on this story.

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