A small scarecrow decoration is all that's left of the McDowell's home after the blaze started. Neighbors stood by helplessly as crews tried to save the home. Judy Mayes says when she got there, it was just too far gone.
"It was already falling in at that point," she said. But Mayes says the fire could have been a lot easier to fight if firefighters had better access to fire hydrants. "We've called several times to ask for some help to get that, but they've never had enough money or don't feel like it's needed, I guess."
It's a sentiment echoed by Fire Chief Tom Sampson. "We deal with this on every fire," he said. "The hydrants in our county are so far and few between, we rarely get the chance to hook one and fight right off the fire hydrant."
Sampson says Monday's fire is a prime example of that need.
"We have two tankers sitting out here that hold 4,000 gallons a piece and we were rotating them in and out. We're flowing anywhere from 800 to a thousand gallons of water a minute. We have to maintain a water supply, so sometimes we ran dry and had to stop and wait for another truck to show up," said Sampson.
Officials say no one was hurt. The family was actually out of town on vacation when the blaze started, apparently in the home's attached garage. However, Mayes fears the next fire in Henderson County could be a much different story because of the lack of the hydrants.
"There was a fire back in the summer, and that house also burned to the ground," she recalled.
The McDowell family now becomes an unfortunate example, as they're forced, literally, to rebuild from the ground up. Officials from the American Red Cross say they're standing by waiting to help the family.