‘My heart hurts’: Volunteer firefighter’s family of five loses home in Monday’s storms

Austin and Heather Griffin and their three children awoke Monday to trees crashing into their home.
Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 2:47 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 12, 2021 at 3:02 PM CDT
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WARREN CO., Miss. (WLBT) - Heather and Austin Griffin and their three children woke up to the blaring sound and sight of trees crashing into their home Monday.

“Hard to believe our house was where the tree is now,” Heather Griffin said.

The couple’s children are 14, 12, and 4.

Surprisingly, the only two rooms spared by mother nature were the ones they slept in. Heather says the home is a total loss, but she’s just thankful her family is alive.

“My heart hurts, but we are blessed and highly favored,” she added.

Warren County Emergency Management officials say a thunderstorm ripped through the area leaving several homes damaged, including one home destroyed by trees.

Emergency officials quickly learned one of the homes belonged to one of their own, volunteer firefighter Austin Griffin.

Griffin has worked as a volunteer firefighter for Letourneau Volunteer Fire Department for four years.

Now, the tables have turned, and Austin and his family need help from the same community he’s sacrificed for.

Long time friend and neighbor Holly Pell set up a GoFundMe to help the family start all over.

“Now it is our turn to help his family,” Pell said. “They now must find somewhere else to live along with their three kids. Everything in the house looks to be a total loss, so they must also replace all of their belongings as well.”

Pell said Griffins had faced their share of financial burdens in the past, including home damage from February’s round of storms and two of their children who had to be hospitalized from accidents.

“Anything will help,” Pell pleaded. “If you do not feel comfortable giving to GoFundMe, gift cards to Walmart and other places are helpful along with gift cards to food places.”

The close-knit family spent Monday with neighbors, family, and friends as they tried to remove debris from the roof of the home. Later, the family said they plan to level their 13-year-home with a bulldozer.

Nevertheless, Heather Griffin continues to remain strong in the face of the aftermath.

“Every time I think we are on the other side of the storm, it starts to rain, but we will keep the faith,” Heather Griffin said.

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