Family recovering from summer lightning fire - WSMV Channel 4

Family recovering from summer lightning fire

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CLARKSVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Last July, a Clarksville family's world was turned upside down in a night. Lightning destroyed the Sayle family's Ellsworth Court home of 11 years. With the help of the community and an army of family and friends, the Sayles now have a lot to celebrate this Christmas. 

"As horrible as that was, the main thing is that we were OK," said Jeff Sayle. "We knew that we would move on."

"Everywhere we turned around, people were just wanting to help us," said Kathy Sayle.

July 19, Jeff and Kathy Sayle were holding a 9th birthday party for their daughter when Kathy Sayle, suddenly feeling something was very wrong, went up to the attic.

"It was obvious we'd been hit by lightning, and the house was on fire," Jeff Sayle told Channel 4 after the fire last summer.

"God was speaking to me," added Kathy Sayle. "He said, 'Get out! Get those kids out of here while it's still safe cause the house doesn't matter, but the family does.'"

When smoke cleared, the stairway of the home was blocked with charred boards, and sunlight poured in from where the roof burned away.

"It's just our faith in God that got us through that," said Jeff Sayle.

Now, five months after the fire, Jeff, Kathy, and their two children are only weeks from moving into a newly constructed home where the old home stood.  

At the end of a year that's brought the Sayles both tragedy and new hope, 9-year-old daughter Faith received a special gift. After losing her only picture of her late grandmother to the fire, a family member found another one. It's proof to the Sayle family everything will work out.

"It's just amazing the outpouring of help we got," said Jeff Sayle.

During construction of the new house, the Sayle family has been renting a home a few doors down. An owner heard the family's story and wanted the Sayles to stay there until they got back on their feet.

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