Family that survived van fire returns home

Sarah Jo King never got the dentures she and her family were headed to South Carolina to get two weeks ago. But Wednesday night, she was finally able to leave Grady Hospital and return to her Bartow County home.

“That’s out of the question now,” said Stefanie King, her oldest daughter. “She needs them -- bad. Her teeth are really bad.”

Rather than getting Sarah Jo new teeth, the family was forced to spend the money on gas and food while two family members were hospitalized.

The Kings, including David, Sarah Jo and daughters Stefanie and Michelle, had a three-day trip planned to get the dentures for a good price.

On July 6, the family was headed south on I-75 in Marietta when a rear tire exploded, causing their Dodge Caravan to burst into flames. The family pulled each other out of the fire before the police arrived at the scene.

David King and Stefanie King suffered relartively minor burns to their arms. But Sarah Jo and Michelle suffered extensive burns to their legs and feet. Michelle, who had skin grafts on both feet, was released earlier this week.

Sarah Jo was expected at home Wednesday evening.

“I’ve been cleaning, just trying to get things ready,” Stefanie said.

A hospital bed for Sarah Jo to use has been delivered to the family’s Taylorsville home, and nurses will visit to continue to treat mother and daughter.

“They were talking about sending Sarah Jo to a nursing home, and David said no,” said Fred King, David King’s older brother. “Ain’t no sense in putting her in there if they can take care of her.”

The family has been surprised at how much people have been willing to help them.

“A lady at my church let me borrow her car.” Stefanie King said. “So many people have stepped out and helped.”

Replacing the family van will be a top priority for the family. Several donors have expressed an interest in helping out, but the family doesn’t have a new vehicle just yet said Fred King. He set up an account at Bartow County Bank for the family.

A barbeque lunch fundraiser is planned for Aug. 22 at noon at the American Legion Post in Cartersville, Fred King said.

But the Kings are just happy to be alive. And they don’t have trips planned any time soon.

“Home is the place to be,” Stefanie King said.