Florence homeowner lost everything in fire, thanks community for their “overwhelming response”

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FLORENCE, Ala. -- A fire at the home of Trisha Henry in Florence is currently under investigation after authorities found the body of her former boss, who is said to have set the fire, inside the house. Henry and her three children were able to escape with their lives but lost everything else.

"I'm just really shocked by this whole situation. It's really hard to wrap my brain around right now," said Trisha.

Trisha and her children, two girls and a boy, ages 10, 13, and 15, are now facing the New Year without a home, or anything else. Trisha told police her former boss set fire to the home.

Sgt. Greg Cobb with Florence PD said, "We're still trying to determine what all took place inside the house. We do know the house was on fire and there was a death from it."

Trisha had previously worked for John Kalama, a man in his early eighties, but quit back in November. Authorities say Kalama entered the home, started a fire and attempted to assault Henry. "As Kalama attempted to assault Henry, she retreated to her bedroom. He followed her into the bedroom where shots were fired. She was then able to exit the home unaware if Mr. Kalama was able to exit the residence," Sgt. Cobb explained.

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In the ensuing chaos, Trisha was able to get herself and her kids to safety.

"I'm just very thankful and blessed that my three children and I got out of the house safe, I just have them with me now," she said.

The Henrys have only lived in the house off Whisperwood Trail in the Briarcliff neighborhood of Florence, for about seven months. But you wouldn't know that from the response they've seen from neighbors, trying to help a family who left the house with just the clothes on their back.

Trisha said neighbors have been stopping by, giving the family all kind of support, from monetary donations for necessities, food, and anything else they might need, and  "From pajamas to shaving cream, I'm just overwhelmed by the amazing response from the community that I've received, and I'm so grateful, so grateful and thankful for all of that," she said.

Christmas is right around the corner, but Trisha said the gift of family is the most important.

"I did have my Christmas tree full of presents under there that I had gotten for the kids, and already wrapped, and they're gone. But there are other times for that. I'm just so blessed that we're okay," she explained.

As for next steps, "I mean I can't even think about that right now. I'm just taking it one day at a time."

Their biggest needs right now are shoes for Trisha's son, he wears a size five. And she needs women's clothing and undergarments.  Trisha herself only has the nightgown she was wearing when she ran out of the house.

The Henrys do have a temporary place to stay. For anyone who has physical donations and are wanting to take them to the Henrys, the address is 215 Woodstock Dr. in the Creekwood subdivision of Florence.

Friends have created a GoFundMe for the Henrys, you can donate by clicking here.

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