If in another room, whole family might have been lost
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Six people were asleep inside a Martinville Loop home when a fire raged through the dwelling on February 15. Only through fate or divine intervention did five of them make it out of the inferno.
Christina “Crissy” Atkins lost her life in the blaze, which sent flames high enough that they were seen from more than five miles away.
Cheyenne Brock, the fire victim’s sister, said one of Crissy’s daughters was not home that night, so she and her son (who turned 10 months old on February 23) decided to sleep in the room where the daughter usually slept. Had they not, things could have been much more tragic.
“It could have been a thousand times worse,” Brock said. “It just so happens that I was in my niece’s room and woke up when I smelled smoke. I grabbed my son and tried to feel for Crissy. We got outside, and I noticed that my mother (Brenda Brock), my dad (Tim Brock) and my brother (Kris Fecteau) were in the yard.
“I noticed Crissy wasn’t outside, and I tried to go back in, but the flames were everywhere. It was horrible. If I had not been sleeping in that room, I could have lost my whole family. Whoever thinks something like that will happen?”
Cheyenne suffered burns to her arms, and her son suffered heat blisters on his head and face. She said the youngster is on the road to recovery.
“He’s doing OK,” she said. “He’s really resilient. I joke with him that now we have matching bandages. But I’m going to make sure he’s OK.”
She also talked briefly about Crissy, her voice choked with tears as she did so.
“She was amazing,” Cheyenne said. “She raised two girls (Keyonna Atkins, 13, and Kasiyah Atkins, 17) by herself. She lived in Washington (state) for 18 years and had been here only two-and-a-half or three years, so not a lot of people around here really knew her. She was really the best. She showed the true meaning of a strong, independent woman, and she was my best friend.”
She also reflected on the material losses incurred by the family.
“My parents have been here 30 years,” she pointed out. “They had a whole lifetime of memories, and everything’s gone. We can move on, find a new place to live and buy new stuff. But we would trade all that to have my sister back.”
Tim and Brenda Brock are currently living in a motel, but the rest of the family members are staying together in a mobile home close to the site of their former residence.
Cheyenne said the response of neighbors, friends and others who want to help the family has been overwhelming, but the family has nowhere to put most of the items that have been donated.
“A bunch of people have donated clothes and other stuff, but we don’t have anywhere to put it,” she said. “You can’t put it in a motel room, and there’s not room in the trailer where we’re staying. That is sort of on hold until we figure something out.”
Those who wish to make a financial contribution to help pay hospital bills, funeral costs and other expenses may do so by visiting gofundme/Cheyenne chafin/house fire or by clicking on the link posted on Cheyenne Chafin’s Facebook page.