Tangi sheriff's employees lose home, pets in blaze sparked by fireplace fire

Tangi sheriff's employees lose home, pets in blaze sparked by fireplace fire

TANGIPAHOA PARISH, LA (WVUE) - A husband and wife law enforcement team in Tangipahoa Parish have lost everything after their home went up in flames caused by a fireplace spark that got out of control.

With the ruins of their dream home still smoldering, the Alexanders can't believe their eyes. Monday night, Jeannie Alexander, a 12-year veteran of the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office, lit the fireplace and wound up in the fight of her life.

"I just built a little fire, and the spark came over and landed on an area rug," she said. "All of a sudden, it flamed up. I got a blanket, it caught fire and spread from there."

Her husband Don, a 32-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office got the call nobody wants while paying a holiday visit to a nearby family.

"Unfortunately, my line of work makes me fear the worst of everything," he said.

After rushing home to see the house in flames, Don at first didn't know where Jeannie was. He said it was most agonizing 5 minutes of his life.

"I don't think I can find the words for how I felt," he said.

The house was filled with Christmas presents for their three children. Don also lost several guns that were prized family heirlooms. Perhaps worst of all, the family lost three pets.

As veteran law officers, the Alexanders find this situation extremely difficult. Normally, they're the ones responding to scenes like these to help others.

Fortunately, they did have insurance, and their agent is assessing the damage. The couple said they aren't sure what their insurance might pay, but they're committed to rebuilding at the same location.

Tangipahoa Parish EOC director Dawson Primes is leading a fundraising effort for the Alexander family. You can also call (985) 748-3211 or drop off donations at the Tangipahoa Parish government building on Mulberry Street in Amite.

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