Newton woman needing help after blaze

Kellie May, left, wipes tears from her eyes while her sister, Karrie Self, comforts her in front of her home, where she recently lost everything. Wendy Nugent/HC Now

By Wendy Nugent, Harvey County Now

NEWTON—Newton High School 2019 graduate Kellie May stood in front of her former residence Thursday night, sobbing while hugging her sister, Karrie Self.

Just a few days before, her home was nice. Things were in place. Her black kitten, Lucifer, slept and ate there, while keeping May company on chilly winter nights.

But on Monday night, all that changed. May lost everything in a fire.

“Everything is replaceable, but she’s not,” May said, tearing up about her cat. “I adopted her about five months ago. When I got her, she was only 4 months old, so she was still a baby. She was definitely my best friend.”

May said she got her cat from a Wichita humane society.

May was renting a one-bedroom home at Ash and West Fourth in Newton, and the fire started when she was at work with her job as a correctional officer at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility. May said the fire marshal called her captain, and then her captain told May about the fire. She came home right away.

May’s sister, Karrie Self, said when May found out about the fire, the family gathered at the scene.

“We were all there waiting for her so she wouldn’t be alone when she got there,” Self said.

Right now, May is staying with a friend, and others, besides her family, are concerned for her. While May visited her former home Thursday night for a few minutes, a couple neighbors stopped and offered help. One said he had a bed she could have.

May needs everything, since that’s what she lost, and there’s a GoFundMe page set up on the web with a goal of $4,000. As of Monday night, a total of $2,231 had been donated by 39 people.

“My little sister, Kellie, just lost everything in a house fire,” according to the GoFundMe page. “I have to do something to help her. She needs everything down to clothes and a toothbrush, not to mention security deposit, etc., to get a new place to live.”

People have been very willing to assist May.

“We didn’t expect this many people to help out,” Self said. “She has a good support system.”

Even her co-workers, and she has many of those, set up donation boxes for her.

“We’re proud to live in Newton with all the support,” Self said, adding people have offered furniture, couches, shampoo and beds. “It really is amazing. We feel really blessed people are taking the time to help my sister. It makes me really happy.”

Those wishing to donate items can leave Self a message on Facebook, and she will give them an address as to where to drop off items. Self is a 2016 Newton High School graduate.

Right now, May is grieving and looking for a place to reside in Newton.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Self said it started by the floor furnace, and May said there was nothing on it.

You can donate here.

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