One Ooltewah family is forced to spend their holiday in a hotel room after an intense fire ripped through their house, damaging everything inside.

The homeowner is grateful her family escaped unharmed, but says the fire could have been prevented. 

"I've been living here at Homewood Suites for about two and a half weeks," said Le'Shawn Witherow.

Le'Shawn Witherow is now forced to call a hotel room, "home" for the holidays.  After lit candles left unattended caught fire damaging her quaint three bedroom home on Old Cleveland Pike in Ooltewah in early December.

"I heard boom, ran and saw a big fire," said Witherow.

Witherow says, she was startled after hearing a loud noise that sounded like an explosion coming from her living room.

She immediately got off the couch to try and figure out where the noise was coming, to only see black smoke and flames instead.

"I was trying to put it out but it was too much, coming to fast and then black smoke everywhere," said Witherow.

The Tri County Volunteer Fire Department arrived shortly after receiving a call from Le'Shawn. Emergency crews quickly put the blaze out and thankfully everyone was able to escape unharmed. 

What is now left behind, is a big mess to clean and the inside that will need to be rebuilt.

"They are going to knock down all of the walls and put up sheet rock because of all the sheet damage," said Witherow.

Everything inside is destroyed clothes, electronics, beds, furniture and even Christmas presents the family purchased for their teenage boys.

"It broke my Christmas spirit but it also taught me to not take anything for granted and be thankful for what you have," said Witherow.

If you would like to donate Christmas presents to the five teenage boys that lost everything in the fire you can contact Le'Shawn Witherow who is staying at Homewood Suites at 423-510-8020 Room Number 319.