Mother and daughter lose it all, keep hope after house fire

Single mom Katlyn Nelson and her daughter, 6-year-old Hensliegh, are putting life back together one day at a time after losing everything in a house fire Sept. 28.

Nelson was driving her daughter home from school around 3:25 in the afternoon when she saw an alarming sight.

“I came down the dirt road and saw the smoke coming through the trees, and you could smell the plastic,” Nelson said.

As Nelson rounded the corner next to her home on Rooks Circle in Chipley, she saw smoke coming from the front of her home and neighbors doing their best to fight the flames with the garden hose.

But it was too late for NelsonÂ’s home as an electrical fire caused the flames to claim the entire mobile home and everything inside – including two beloved family pets.

“That’s probably the hardest part,” Nelson said.

A Jack Russell terrier, Gracie, Nelson had over five years had succumbed to smoke inhalation. They also lost a bearded dragon, Heidi.

Nelson feels fortunate despite losing everything. She has homeowners insurance to cover what they lost and a temporary place to stay. She hopes to rebuild the home she really wants on her six-acre property.

“That’s our home place that we’re going to keep on keeping on at,” Nelson said. “I’ve tried to make light of what’s happened. I’ve cried enough tears to fill a river.”

In addition to raising her daughter, Nelson works 12-hour shifts as a licensed practical nurse at a Chipley nursing home and attends Wallace Community College working toward becoming a registered nurse.

As for Hensliegh, Nelson said she is doing a little better.

“She’s a little distraught,” Nelson said. “She was there when it (the house) was burning, and the dog was her baby too.”

Nelson said they have received donated items thatÂ’s softened the blow. Hensliegh needs new school clothes in size 6-7 and shoes in size 12-13.
Nelson added that her daughter is enjoying toys she has received. She misses her collection of LOL Surprise dolls the most.

“I appreciate everything everyone has given us,” Nelson said. “We’re thankful.”

Anyone who wishes to help Katlyn and Hensliegh Nelson through this tough time may donate through PayPal to @KatlynNelson94.