KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Six people are dead after a house fire in Cumberland County, according to the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.
Family members identified them as a family of six people, including two children.
"Family meant more to them than anything else. So, they are definitely being remembered by that," said Kara Swallows, who said she received a phone call from deputies about the fire on the day after Christmas. "It's just very traumatizing to the whole family."
She said she lost her uncle Trent McCoy, 55, her aunt Karen McCoy, 54, their son (her cousin) Chris McCoy, 33, his wife, Melissa McCoy, 23, and their two children — Arabella Dosset, 4, and Ebony McCoy, 3.
The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said Thursday it could not positively confirm yet that Melissa and the two children were among the six victims, but said it "strongly" believed the three perished in the fire and would be confirmed soon. The Medical Examiner's Office did confirm Trent, Karen and Chris died in the fire.
"Our hearts and prayers are with the family and friends of the victims. We are thankful to our community who has shown tremendous support for all. This horrific event and the loss of this family is a tremendous loss to this community," the CCSO said.
The Cumberland County Fire Department was dispatched to the fire on Plateau Road early Monday morning, CCSO said. When firefighters arrived, the house was fully engulfed in flames, according to CCSO.
The Cumberland Emergency Management Agency, CCSO, the CCFD, the Cumberland County Rescue Squad and the Tennesee Bureau of Investigation were on the scene as of Monday at 11:45 a.m.
No foul play is suspected, and CCSO said they believe it was an accidental fire. However, it is still under investigation.
Swallows said the family is collecting donations to help Chris' four surviving children who are now in the care of other family members. She said they need storage dressers, toiletries and groceries.
"They're going to be feeding a lot of mouths, so any of that would be very helpful," she said.
They are collecting money through Cash App for funeral expenses. There is also a McCoy Memorial Fund at First National Bank that people can donate to, Swallows said. For more information contact Kara Swallows on Facebook or donations can be dropped off at West Mane Beauty Salon in Crossville.