Residents Rally Around Family Displaced By House Fire


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Chattanooga residents are coming together to help a family who lost everything in a house fire.

Labrecia Stephens’ home on Dodson Avenue was damaged Saturday afternoon, after firefighters say some items were placed too close to a baseboard heater, and burst into flames.

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Stephens has six children from ages 14 to 7.

Now some of her neighbors are looking to help the family by hosting a fundraiser for them.

Folks will be collecting everything from money and clothing, to toiletries on Monday at noon at Miller Park in downtown Chattanooga.

Stephens says she’s grateful for all of the support.

“I’m just trying to stay strong for my kids,” Stephens said. “I try not to cry, especially around them. I’m OK, as good as I can be.”

“We looked over there. This lady’s whole life is out here on the ground – wet, destroyed, you know, so you can’t have a heart and not think that we gotta do something to try to bring some closure, or give her a little cushion just to help her out,” said resident Anthony Byrd.

Stephens tells News 12 she doesn’t know what’s next for her family. They’re just taking it one day at a time.

She and her children are currently staying at a hotel with help from the American Red Cross.

You can also contact the Boyce Station Neighborhood Association at 423-227-5999 if you’d like to help.


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You can watch Emily Cassulo weeknights on News 12 Now starting at 5:30. Emily also does stories on different tech products and issues for Tech Byte, which airs Mondays on News 12 Now. She joined the WDEF news team in September 2016 from News 12’s sister station in Columbus, Mississippi, where she worked as an anchor, producer and reporter. Emily is no stranger to the Volunteer State. Before moving to Mississippi, she worked at WBBJ-TV, covering crime and severe weather throughout West Tennessee. She loves living in Chattanooga, and exploring what the Scenic City has to offer. Emily is a Florida native, graduating from the University of Central Florida with a degree in broadcast journalism and minor in political science. While in college, Emily worked part-time as a reporter/web producer at News/Talk 96.5 WDBO. She broke her first news story there, which made national headlines, and covered the 2010 Central Florida congressional elections and the high-profile Casey Anthony trial. When she’s not busy reporting, Emily enjoys shopping, reading, playing the piano, and spending time with family and friends. Feel free to e-mail her at if you have any story ideas or just want to say ‘Hi.’