Denham Springs woman diagnosed with cancer loses everything in house fire 1 day before first round of treatment

A Denham Springs woman recently diagnosed with cancer lost everything she owned in a house fire Wednesday, May 31.
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 10:50 PM CDT
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DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (WAFB) - A Denham Springs woman recently diagnosed with cancer lost everything she owned in a house fire Wednesday, May 31.

The homeowner, Pam McCallister, lives in the Southpoint Neighborhood. She said it only took a few minutes for the fire to take over and destroy her home.

“I went to bed, and I was dozing off and on and I smelled something, and I opened the door, and I just couldn’t see anything,” said McCallister.

Her neighbor, Will Barker, said first responders arrived within 10 to 15 minutes, but there was nothing they could do to salvage the home.

McCallister also lost two dogs that were trapped inside.

“I got a frantic ring on my doorbell, pounding on my door, and it was my neighbor’s son. I could see them panicking on there, asking us to call 911 because their house was on fire,” said Barker. “In 15 minutes, it was gone.”

The fire came just one day before McCallister’s first round of cancer treatment.

McCallister was diagnosed in early May with oral cancer. According to an online post from her son, McCallister has never smoked, nor is there a history of cancer within their family.

She will have to go through three months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments for five days a week.

“Prayers are the most important thing, because without God, I don’t know what I’d do,” said McCallister.

The community and neighborhood are now banding together to help McCallister.

Barker set up a GoFundMe and has spent the past day recruiting help from as many people as possible.

“We have to live in this world together, we have to get along together, and for something to happen so tragically I just can’t imagine looking the other way and not doing anything about it. I just think that’s what ‘good community’ is, and that’s what people should be,” said Barker.

Barker hopes more people will follow his lead.

“You should help your neighbors out, you should do whatever you can to be there for them, because one day you might need it.,” said Barker.

There’s no word yet on how the fire started.

If you would like to donate and help McCallister, click here.

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