EFFINGHAM, S.C. (WBTW) — A Florence County mother and her two teenagers are without a home after a fire last week at their home in Effingham left them with nothing.

The fire, which Natalie Harris said happened late Wednesday into Thursday morning, also killed Harris’ dog Princess and injured another one. Cupcake is recovering at the Florence Area Humane Society, she said.

“I started busting the windows, and we were screaming for the dogs to follow our voice and they didn’t,” she said. “Then, we just heard a big boom and stuff was just popping and glass, and I just told the girls let’s just get far away from the house, and we got on the ground and started praying. I watched my whole life go into flames.”

Howe Springs fire officials released the release information about the fire:

“Just before 12:30 am on Feb. 3rd, 2022, Howe Springs Fire Rescue responded to a reported house on fire at 2227 McKeen Ln., Effingham, SC. The initial reports included the possibility of entrapment, but all persons had escaped when fire units arrived. First arriving units reported fire showing from the front of the residence, and that 2 dogs were still inside. Both dogs were quickly located and resuscitation efforts were administered.

“The fire was controlled in about 10 minutes, and was contained to the kitchen area with extension into the attic. There was heat damage to adjacent areas, and significant smoke damage throughout the home. The American Red Cross was requested to assist the 2 adults and 2 children. The fire is still under investigation.”

Harris explained what she saw.

“I smelled no smoke,” she said. “I was sitting there with my bedroom door opened. There was no smoke at all until after I saw that big ball of light.”

Harris has burns and scars that she said were caused by trying to break through the window to save the dogs. Gone are many memories, pictures, important documents, including IDs and birth certificates. Now, she said she needs as much help as she can get.

“I work really, really hard, and I’m a single parent and I take a lot of pride in everything I do, and I used to walk in my house and be proud of myself,” she said. “If nobody else was proud of me, I was proud of me. It’s gone. It’s all gone. I just got to start over. I rather start over without all of the stuff…I got my babies. I got my babies. Those are my broke best friends.”

Since the fire, Harris and her two teenagers have been put up in a hotel. Harris said they are in need of a 4 bedroom house and enough space to place her barn along with clothing and other assistance.

Update: The family dog, Cupcake, is doing better. She loss her vision because of the fire and has since got it back.

Anyone who would like to help should call Natalie at 843-453-0895 or contact the Florence Area Humane Society at 843-669-2921.

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