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Keyshia Patterson, captain of the Shelby County High School volleyball team, stood beside a backyard trampoline early Monday morning, sorting through damaged family mementoes, all that seemed to be left after her family’s home was destroyed by a sudden and violent blaze.
Patterson and her family had spent the weekend celebrating the Lady Rockets’ second-place finish in a tournament at Frankfort, but they were awakened before 6 a.m. by a fire that was spreading quickly from their automobile to their home at 124 Clifton Court.
Lisa Wakefield, who lives in the home with her husband and two daughters, said she looked outside about 5:45 a.m. and saw her family’s car on fire.
She said she called the fire department immediately, roused her family for evacuation and notified the neighbors because she feared the fire would spread in the morning breeze.
The aluminum siding on the house on the north side of the Wakefields’ home – and next to the car – was melted by the heat from the blaze.
Shelbyville Fire Department trucks responded at 5:48 to find the house fully engaged. No one was injured.
“The cause is accidental.” Shelbyville Fire Chief Willard “Tiger” Tucker said. “The house fire started from the car. The car caught fire in what appears to be the passenger compartment area, and basically, the fire spread into the eave of the house, burned the attic out of the house and melted the siding of the house next door.”
He said arson has been ruled out, and that the investigation continues.
“The car alarm started going off, and I looked out and saw that the car was on fire down in the floor, by the pedals,” Wakefield said. “Before we knew it, the house was on fire. The attic caught on fire quickly.”
She said her husband, Tyrone Wakefield, and her daughters, Courtney Wakefield and Patterson, got out of the home quickly, and they were blessed that no one was injured.
The home is a rental property managed by Socayr Property Management. “We’re just happy everyone got out OK,” said Kathy Staton, who manages several homes on Clifton Court for her company.
Family and friends gathered with the emergency vehicles in their usually quiet cul de sac off Mack Walters Road, offering them comfort.
Firefighters removed mementoes, some of which they spread on the trampoline, and a burned mattress and box springs rested in the front yard.
“This is all I have left,” Wakefield said, pointing to the night clothes and house shoes she was wearing. But she also mourned the loss of so many personal items.
Patterson’s aunt talked about how distraught the family was that Patterson would lose clippings and other mementoes of her volleyball career.
“I’d just spent last night [Sunday] putting new stuff in her scrapbook,” Lisa Wakefield said. “She had saved so much over the years.”
Patterson said she was sleeping when her mother awakened her, before her usual time to rise for school. “I can’t really go; I don’t have anything to wear,” she said.
And she said she didn’t know if her scrapbooks and trophies had survived.
“They haven’t gone in to see what [clippings] might be saved,” she said, “but they did get my volleyballs out.”
Staff writer Lisa King contributed to this report.