Fire marshal: Faulty box fan started fire that killed young boy, injured father

Community banding together to help family

KATHLEEN, Fla. - A faulty box fan appears to be the cause of an early morning house fire that killed a young boy and injured his dad Wednesday morning in Kathleen.

Five kids and two adults were inside -- the father helped get everyone out, but could not get to three-year-old Landon Myers in time.

While the six surviving members of the family lost everything, they discovered the heart of neighbors and complete strangers.

The community is banding together to donate clothes and toys for the family.

"Whatever the family needs, we told them we would be there for them," said Lana Tatum, Principal at Kathleen Elementary, where two of the five kids go.

Landon was set to begin pre-school.

"We're a very close knit school, so our teachers' hearts are breaking for them," she said. "They love the kids. They've been calling and e-mailing, what can we do, what can we do."

So far, Tatum has been bringing the family meals. The school is also now accepting donations for clothes and school supplies.

And that's just the start.

The New Home Baptist Church is also collecting clothes, toys, and books.

"Just so happens that she fits the same size as the little girl is," said Alecia Worley, pointing to her daughter, Adrianna. "So I got some of her old clothes... It's heartbreaking to hear what happened."

The Worley's never met the family, but wanted to give something.

Others donated by the car-load.

Jamie Cardin runs Angels Among Us, a group that helps families in need.

"I would hope that if something like this happened to my family, that somebody would help us in return," she said. "That's the reason I hope a lot of people will do it."

Charity Freeman, the woman who lived at the home and the mother of most of the kids, did not want to go on camera, but wanted to thank the community for the outpouring of support.

Brian Myers, Landon's father, remains in critical condition in an Orlando hospital with severe burns. His condition is improving.

If you would like to help the Myers/Freeman family, go to the Kathleen Elementary web site for all the information on what items are needed and where to donate.

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