ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WKRG) — One week ago, the morning after Hurricane Sally hit, a fire broke out at a home on Jubilee Point in Orange Beach.
The day before, during the hurricane, the Rayborn family was hunkering down in their home. “We all just sat there and prayed,” said Jack Rayborn.
After the storm passed, Rayborn and his family were able to get a good look at the damage. They had some flooding, their cars were flooded, and some shingles were missing. But all in all, they say their home was structurally fine.
Rayborn was talking with a friend about the storm as they cleaned up some of the mess Wednesday afternoon, “I was just telling him I can’t imagine it getting much worse than this.”
The Rayborn family weathered one storm, but it was the day after they’ll not soon forget.
After they had all gone to bed, their son, Chandler, woke and saw something. “[I] noticed an orange flickering light projecting up on the side of their house,” said Chandler.
Their neighbors home, in flames. Chandler rushed to action. “I ran to wake my parents up. I woke them up I was yelling probably very loud ‘Clint and Sue’s house is on fire we’ve got to get them up,'” he explained.
Many are crediting Chandler with his quick actions that night as heroic. Chandler instead credits his father with the heroic actions. “I just did what they would have done for us,” he explained.
Jack woke and immediately ran into his neighbor’s home, twice, to make sure they were out safely. “I ran back down the stairs, ran around to the front side of the house and they were holding each other at the back of their dock,” said Jack.
The fire spread to five buildings, Orange Beach firefighters waded through three feet of water to save three of the buildings. Two homes burned down to the ground. But in the ashes, the Rayborn family says they have found a community standing behind them through it all. Everything that has happened in the week since the fire has helped them heal. “The way the community reacted and jumped in, and it was all hands on deck,” said Jack.
Friends, family, and strangers have been driving by, asking what they need. “It has been just unbelievable. The love and overwhelming support. Everybody has pitched in and really helped us,” said Jack. Chandler also noted the love his family has received, “truly humbling. This is a wonderful, wonderful city.”
The Rayborns say, one man, in particular, has gone above and beyond for their family and their neighborhood as a whole, checking on them all multiple times a day. “I’ve got to put a prop out to Matt Stringer with the Orange Beach police department. He’s been relentless in helping us and all of our neighbors over here,” said Jack.
They explain the support is making this all a little easier. “We’re sleeping good at night. We know we have an army of love and support behind us. To me, that just takes the rest of it and lets it kind of stay in this little spot. We’re going to rebuild. This is our dream home, it’s going to be our dream home again. We’re not going anywhere,” said Jack.
It’s the community that is keeping them going.
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