(WBIR-Knox County) After a devastating car crash forever changed their lives in 2003, a Corryton family faced yet another major hardship after lightning sparked a fire Thursday, destroying their house and everything in it.
10News first interviewed the Maples after the mother, Robin Maples, who was eight months pregnant at the time, was involved in a crash on Emory Road in February, 2003.
A teenage driver crossed the center line and smashed into her vehicle, head on, causing severe brain damage to her unborn baby, Hayden.
The driver, who died in the accident, had acquired 18 points on his license in a three year period, and according to a spokeswoman for the Department of Safety, the state had sent him a letter warning that his license could be suspended.
For years, the Maples crusaded to get Hayden's Law passed, which was ultimately signed into law in 2006. The law mandated that if a driver between the ages of 15 and 21 is convicted of a moving traffic violation or is involved in accidents and accumulates at least eight points in any nine month period, his or her license will be suspended for 90 days.
Fast forward to 2014, the Maples said they still struggle on a daily basis to provide care for their special needs daughter, who can't fully communicate after losing 70% of her brain to injuries sustained in the 2003 accident.
"She probably has 15 to 20 seizures a day. She smiles, and she laughs," said Robin Maples.
Hayden, who is now 11-years-old, loves the sound of other children laughing.
"For us as a family, it's been really tough. It took us almost six years just to get her approved for TennCare and social security disability," said Chris Maples, Hayden's father. "People don't realize the little things that go into caring for her."
Now, after Thursday's fire, the Maples said they have to concur yet another life-altering obstacle. A giant hole was left in the roof over the living room and stairwell, and burnt debris caked the floors of the home Friday.
"Nothing is salvageable. Adjusters told us today that it's a total loss," said Robin Maples. "What was not burnt was water damage or smoke damaged. We tried saving some of Hayden's clothes, we tried washing them, but the smoke smell is just not coming out."
Robin Maples said with car accidents blocking the interstate, the drive back to her Corryton home was emotional.
"I knew Hayden was out of the house. I knew her nurse was out of the house. I knew everybody was safe. And as shocking as it is to get the phone call and your husband is saying 'lightning has struck our house and it's burning to the ground,' God just gave me a peace," said Robin Maples.
The family said they are staying with other family members while they try to figure out what the future holds.
"That's a good question, that's a good question," said Robin Maples. "We're just taking it day by day, really. One day at a time."
"You never know what tomorrow holds. But you just hold onto that faith and trust in God that whatever life throws at you, he's going to bring you through it. And he's brought us through it many, many times," added Chris Maples.
A fund has been set up at Regions Bank, under the name Maples Family Fire Fund. 10News will post more information when the family has finalized arrangements.
In the meantime, the Maples said they are just grateful for the outpouring of support from friends, family, neighbors, churches, retail stores, and coworkers, and that most importantly, everyone is ok.
"Hayden and her nurse were in the house," said Robin Maples. "Your family you can't replace. Your house and your belongings, you can."