How to help
Go to the family’s GoFundMe page.
For the Cathey family, a normal Monday afternoon turned into a nightmare.
The Flowery Branch family’s home was up in flames and smoke when Mark Cathey was pulling into the driveway with his two girls, Harper, 3, and Hayleigh, 5, around 3:40 p.m.
Rachel Cathey, Mark’s wife, was on the phone with him when he saw what was left of their home.
“We were just having a casual conversation, then sheer panic,” Rachel said.
The back of the house was already engulfed, but Mark ran in to rescue their dog Bella and cat Costello, but he wasn’t able to pull anything else out before it was too late.
Rachel also said a firefighter was able to go back into their home and retrieve Rachel’s mother’s ashes.
“We have the clothes on our back, but we have each other,” Rachel said in a Facebook post. “Thanking God everyone is safe, including my fur babies. If Mark was two minutes later, they probably wouldn’t be here. Sweet girls don’t really understand their house is gone. Plus Harper is still sick with fever. I want to hide under a rock.”
When Hall County Fire Services arrived, the fire had destroyed the 2,000-square-foot house on the 5800 block of Bridgeport Court. The home was valued at about $170,000, according to the fire department.
The fire started somewhere on the lower floor of the home, but fire investigators aren’t sure where exactly.
It could be weeks before the Catheys are back in any state of normalcy.
“We've had a great bit of help with children’s clothing, and we’re living in tight quarters until we get in temporary housing,” Rachel said.
The Catheys are living in a hotel room for now and plan to rebuild their home, which could take months.
Rachel’s cousin Shannon Houglum, who lives nearly 3,000 miles away in Seattle, set up a GoFundMe page for the family.
“I’d do anything for (Rachel),” Houglum said. “I know she's just trying to wrap her head around the fact that she lost practically everything.”
It was the Catheys’ first home, and they bought it after Rachel’s mother died several years ago.
“I can't even imagine the feeling of loss they are all going through,” Houglum said.