SOCIETY HILL — When Jamie Flowers and his wife Beth returned home from church on a recent Sunday, he decided to take a nap. When he awoke, it was to sound of his wife screaming that their house was on fire.
“She woke me up screaming, ‘The house is on fire!’” Flowers said. “When I looked out the door, I could actually see the flames, but they were above the door.”
Flowers then got dressed and fled the burning house. Luckily Jamie and Beth’s two daughters, were at a friend’s house, but Jamie Flowers did run back into the house to retrieve the family cat.
“All I could think about was my kids and their love for that cat,” he said.
He found the pet hiding beneath one of his daughters’ beds. He struggled to coax the cat out of its hiding spot until he heard the smoke detectors fall silent.
“The room that I was in was filling up with black smoke,” Flowers said. “I knew that it was time to go, I went running through the living room, and as I did the ceiling was falling in in the living room. It was just that fast.”
Within minutes, the Flowerses’ home was completely destroyed.
“In two to three minutes by the time I got out of the house, the whole back of the house was on fire, the front of the house was on fire,” he said.
After calling 911, Flowers immediately called Pastor Chad Vick with the Free Worship Center in Cheraw.
“He’s my buddy and my pastor,” Flowers said. “I mean, we’re like brothers from a different mother.”
Vick went right over to the Flowerses’ home as soon as he heard the news.
“Jamie called me and I went straight down there,” Vick said. “By the time I had gotten there, it was completely engulfed. It was a total loss, no doubt.”
The Flowers family went to stay with friends. Thought they had insurance, it will take some time for the claim to be processed. In the meantime, the family was without the most basic of items.
“If I had known at 1 o’clock on Sunday that my house was going to burn to the ground by 3:30, I’d have been packing stuff up,” said Flowers.
The next day, Vick started a fundraising campaign on the crowdfunding website GoFundMe.com. Within two days, the campaign was nearly halfway to its $5,000 goal.
“You don’t realize until you lose a house in a fire like that, all the small things that you lose,” Vick said.
Vick said he started the campaign after seeing an outpouring of support from the community with several people calling to ask what they could do to help the family.
‘Several people in the community had inboxed me wanting to know where they could go to donate and those type of things,” Vick said.
The American Red Cross replaced the family’s eyeglasses and prescription medications, and Beth Flowers’ co-workers at Cheraw Financial Services also started a GoFundMe campaign to help the family.
Vick said the outpouring of support has definitely been ” a community coming together.”
“They’ve been very appreciative that the community has come together with with GoFundMe,” he said. “The thing is, everybody can give just a little and it equates to a lot in the long run.”
Flowers said he’s also received help from several individuals and some area churches.
“This has been a humbling, surreal, unbelievable week all in all,” Flowers said.
Though he lost his home, Flowers remains positive.
“Nothing happens in life without a reason,” he said.
Though times are tough, Flowers said he is blessed to be alive and to have the support from his community and church family.
Reach reporter Randy Garner at 843-537-5261 and follow him on Twitter @CherawChronicle.