PERRYVILLE, AR - Sunday, a Perryville High School senior and her terminally ill grandmother lost everything they own in a mobile home fire - including the 17-year-old's prom dress. Her prom is this Saturday. Thanks to the generosity of FOX16 viewers, Alicia Hussey will now have her pick of dresses.
Chris Swanson woke up to flames engulfing her rural Saline County home just south of Paron on Highway 298.
"I believe God, angels, somebody spoke to me and said Chris, you need to get up," said Swanson.
Home alone, Swanson quickly walked to the garage.
"I saw a light in the garage, and I though, you know, one of my kids come home," she said.
But instead, Swanson realized she was looking at fire. Her mobile home, which was encased in brick and stone, burned to the ground destroying all of her belongings.
"I couldn't go out the front door anymore. I grabbed my dog, a purse, a pair of jeans that was sitting there and I ran out," says Swanson.
Firefighters tell FOX16 that Swanson got out just in time because the fire got so strong that the tin roof caved in.
Swanson lives with her granddaughter, Alicia, a senior at Perryville High, who was not home this morning. Alicia was staying with her other grandmother in Sherwood.
"I've had many traumatic experiences in my life, and this one will be one that I remember because I am older, but what I'll remember most about it is everybody coming together and helping me," says Alicia Hussey.
Alicia is most thankful her grandmother is safe.
Alicia also lost everything in the fire including her senior pictures and prom dress. When we told her dozens of FOX16 viewers have already asked how they can donate their old prom dresses, she couldn't believe it.
"That is, I'm so excited. I can't jump because the camera would have to move, but I'm excited," she said. "I have silver shoes. Anything goes with silver."
Alicia would still go to her prom without a dress. She isn't worried about material items.
"I was gonna just wear jeans and bust up in there and say crown me!" she said.
Alicia and her grandmother will stay with other family members tonight as they try to figure out where to move permanently.
Fire investigators are trying to figure out what caused the fire. The family does not have homeowners insurance. Friends tell us they're going to the bank Monday to set up a donation fund. Perryville High School is having a spaghetti dinner for the family April 4 from 4:30-7:30 p.m.
If you'd like to help right now, Alicia needs a size 4 prom dress. You can message Alicia on Facebook by clicking here: http://www.facebook.com/just.get.myspace
The dress she picked out before that bruend Sunday was a purple peacock style dress. It was donated by a family friend because Alicia's grandmother is on a fixed income. If it hadn't been for that donation, Alicia wouldn't have had a prom dress at all.
If you'd like to help any Arkansas fire victims, you can contact the Red Cross at arkansasredcross.org
. That's where you can also find fire safety tips.