Mother perishes in fire; community pulls together to help


by Brooke Hasch

Posted on December 2, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 2 at 8:25 PM

TURNER STATION , Ky. (WHAS11) -- Piles of charred rubble replace what used to be two mobile homes at 1422 Gilgal Rd., owned by Arnold Smith. He was awoken Monday around 5 a.m. by his neighbor yelling for help. A fire was closing in on William Smith, his fiancé Wendy Mercer and their 4-month-old son, William.

"I got up, he said, I need water. I went to turn the faucet on, and about that time, the whole side of it came in on me and I said, ‘oh Lordy,’" Smith said.

In seconds, both mobile homes began crumbling under fire.

"Couldn't see nothing," Smith said.

Both families made it out safely, but Smith says the 37-year-old Mercer ran back inside for diapers and bottles and never returned.

"We're basically numb. It ain’t set in yet," Donna Spur, a neighbor, said.

Hours later, the materials that Mercer risked her life for came by the truck loads to help her fiancé and son she left behind.

"All the neighbors out here went and got diapers and bottles and food. He's set," Spur said.

The community was committed to helping a grieving family.

"It's very, very hard on this community. We've been called by many people and asked to give assistance to the family. I know the Red Cross is involved. Keep them in your prayers and anything to help them," Carroll County Sheriff Jamie Kinman said.

"We'll do our best to take it one day at a time. Pick up the pieces and go on, it's all we can do," Spur said.

Mercer's family says her son is staying with extended relatives next door.

Firefighters have not determined an official cause of the fire, but believe a space heater is to blame.