Business fire leaves Chatsworth family pinching pennies for the holiday
One man remains in a Georgia burn center after being injured in a business fire Saturday.
The business owner told Channel 3 a man was changing a fuel pump in a car when it blew up Saturday morning around 11. A wood heater, sealed doors and leaked gasoline may also be to blame.
The victim, in his seventies, remains at a Georgia burn unit. The owner said at first it looked as if the man wouldn't live through the night but they performed surgery on Sunday. A family member told Channel 3 in an email, he has 3rd and 4th degree burns on 38% of his body.
The rest of the building, once the size of a football field, is a total loss.
"Forty foot wide and 40 foot long and gone in twenty minutes," said owner Michael Keener. "There was 8 vehicles in here, jet skis, motorcycles, a Harley. Now it's all gone."
From a body shop to a flea market, this Chatsworth building housed a variety of businesses that is now reduced to ash and scrap metal.
Owner Michael Keener didn't have insurance and can't put a price tag on what he lost.
"Everything that we've collected for 25 years," said Keener. "Every time I turn over something, I find something that I forgot about."
But his wife Tabatha knows the work they did inside the building is what paid the bills. Their income: up in smoke.
And among the couple's seven children, it was the 8-year-old who wanted to give his savings to mom and dad.
"My son says, well me and brother have over 100 dollars saved up and we want to pay your bill," she said. "They see all this happening and they offer something that's so much to them to us is just a blessing."
The Keener's say it's not just the kids. By the dozens, neighbors have come together to clean.
"People have been pulling up, saying we ain't got nothing but two hands to help," Michael Keener said.
"Right now we're just trying to get everything cleaned up and what God wants us to have, we'll have," he said.
And amongst all the charred wood and burnt rubble, Tabatha found something to save: a kids' Bible in the thick of the mess.
"Glad the Lord was watching us," he said.
The couple will continue cleaning the mess Wednesday and said anyone is welcome to help at 5188 Hwy 225 South Chatsworth, GA.