MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) – It's often said that lightning doesn’t strike twice, but in Lakeland it did.
One of Lakeland’s oldest and most beloved residents died in an early morning fire on Wednesday November 30, 2011. Believe it or not, things got worse from there.
It is hard to believe that losing a loved one in a fire could be trumped, but thanks to some despicable bad guys, George Farris’ family received a double dose of tragedy. Within hours of losing George, his burned out house was looted; leaving his family reeling and angry.
“I’m disgusted, you know,” said Farris’ cousin Immeari Williams.
“Disgusted,” said Larry Olden, Farris’ nephew. “Hurt that somebody would do something like that.”
Crooks looted the burned out home of 100-year-old George Farris, who died in the blaze.
“The sad part about it, the disgraceful part, is that it has not been four hours since we all left from here and looters are already going through the house. It’s just sad,” said Williams.
“They just don’t have a conscience as far as I can tell,” Olden told abc24.com.
According to Farris’ relatives, the looters took anything they thought they could sell. That included the heater the family believes started the fire. It sat in a front room where George’s body was discovered.
The bad guys also took a refrigerator, but the bad guys were so mean they didn’t even take the entire fridge; they ripped off the door and propped it up against the burned out house.
“Now days I guess, with the economy, people just don’t care,” said Williams. “The heartless ones. Anything that’s not nailed down they took. Anything that’s iron that they can sell, they took.”
When firefighters arrived to battle the flames, temperatures inside the house ranged between 800-1000 degrees. After the looting, Williams was nearly as hot.
“There has to be a sense of dignity after a passing away,” Williams told abc24.com. “Somebody dying in a house fire.”