STARR, S.C. (WSPA) – A rescued pig might be to blame for a weekend fire that destroyed an Anderson County Animal Control Officer’s home.
Officer Jamie Turner and her mother, Cristina, are also both members of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue team.
Tuesday they sifted through soot and rubble to find keepsakes at their home in Starr, while Fern the pig watched in her favorite spot.
The family rescued Fern months ago. She was captured by animal control and taken to their home to try to find her owner. When no one claimed her, they decided they had to keep her.
“She was super sweet and we fell in love with her,” Turner said.
Last Saturday while the family was at a baby shower, they received a call saying their home was on fire. They rushed home but couldn’t make it there in time. They believe Fern somehow knocked her heat light down inside of the house that Turner made for her. The wind spread the flames from there into the carport and home.
They lost mostly everything inside, including multiple long-loved family dogs and birds.
“It has been a hard thing to deal with,” Turner explained. “They are just like furry family members. They can’t be replaced.”
Thankfully several other animals, including Fern, a coy fish, goats and horses, made it out alive.
They were also able to salvage some important memories, like an untouched Bible and a folded up flag for her late father who was a veteran. The wooden and glass casing was destroyed, but the flag was still in good shape.
“Unbelievable that it was saved. It had a little charring on it but it should be okay and hopefully get it restored,” she said. “We are just thankful that we are blessed the way that we have been.”
Already, Turner says there has been support from the community. People have been donating clothing for her baby and others have stopped by to help at their home or fix their fence to keep their animals in.
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office put the family up in a hotel, started a GoFundMe and set up a donation box to help them get back on their feet.
The family says they have been through a lot over the past few years, including a family member with cancer and the death of her father and her grandmother. The fire happened on the anniversary of her grandmother’s death. That’s why she says she is grateful for the kindness in this time.
“We have been blessed beyond measure. Definitely, God is watching out for us,” she said.
Soon, for Fern’s happiness, they will be moving her to another farm with other pigs. She has been checked out by a veterinarian and seems fine, but they believe the fire may have traumatized her.
“We are just keeping a close eye on her,” Turner added. “We are keeping prayers that she will be okay and will stick with us.”
In time, the family will move into a property Turner owns that is under repair after a former tenant moved out. They will stay in that home until her mother’s burned home is rebuilt.
If you can help the family through donations, go to their GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/cristina-and-jamie-turner-fund.
The GoFundMe page states, “This family has gone through a rough couple of years and we want them to know they are loved by Anderson County and they are precious members of the ACSO family.”
Right now, they are in need of clothing for Cristina, Jamie and her 14-month-old daughter Brayleigh. They are also accepting toy donations for the baby and simple everyday items: “hairdryers, lotions, baby items and clothes, deodorant, makeup, socks, shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste. Basically…look around your own home to see what you use everyday and see that these are things they no longer have, but need.”
A drop off location has been established and people can drop donations off at the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office at 305 Camson Road.