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Trying to Stay Warm Cost One Portland Family Its Home--Mikayla Lewis

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PORTLAND, Tenn. - In Sumner County, neighbors rally around a mother and her two small children tonight. They need the help desperately after their Portland rental home was destroyed by fire. The home is a total loss, destroyed from a fire yesterday around 2:30 p.m.

No one was hurt in the fire, but the single mother that lived there believes the devastation could have been prevented.

Angel Sulzer is staying in Gallatin, after American Red Cross found her a hotel to stay at for the next few days.

Sulzer said," Out of the corner of my eye I saw flames just rolling out of the wall heater... just rolling"

The 27-year-old says she and her 9-month-old son rushed out of the house after seeing the fire in her kitchen. The Portland Fire Department was unable to save the home, and fought cold conditions freezing the fire hydrant cap and strong winds creating heavier smoke.

Sulzer says the fire started from the wall heater in the kitchen. She says she asked her landlord, Larry Bandy to fix things including the heaters and insulation, but her friend that lived with her repaired mostly everything.

"He done a lot of work on it after he moved there," Bandy said. 

Bandy says he is dealing with health problems, but talked to FOX 17 over the phone.

Bandy says he does not think the fire started from the wall heaters in his old rental property, "...If it wouldve been I wouldve fixed it. If I ever have a problem with one of my units, I fix it right then... right then."

Sulzer showed us her aunt's house, which is also owned by Bandy. Sulzer says the hole in the bathroom ceiling is still not repaired from a flood months ago.

"He 's a good man but he don't stick to his word, so I think it is his fault or responsibility to do that," Sulzer explained.

"It just don't make sense that the heater was where it caught in the kitchen, and from the heater it caught the rest of the house or whatever. She had a fire extinguisher...that didn't make sense. "

Angel Sulzer says she thinks she found a new home with hopes to move on Monday . The Portland community came together and is collecting donations at the local fire station. If you want to help, donations of clothing and small items are being accepted at the Portland Fire Hall, located at 435 N Broadway.

Donations of gift cards and/or cash are being accepted at the Portland Police dispatch office.  To donate larger items (furniture, etc.) contact  Sulzer's sister by calling 615.946.9178.

Follow Mikayla Lewis on Twitter @MikaylaFox17

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