CENTERTON, Ark. (KFSM) — A mother and her three children are without their home tonight after a fire.
Tessa Evans says her estranged husband James threatened to burn down their home several times. He was arrested Sunday (Jan. 19) night for allegedly doing just that.
“He didn’t do it to harm us. Drugs just took over his life. He ruined our lives without truly knowing what he was doing,” Tessa said.
Tessa, her two sons and 13-month-old daughter narrowly avoided disaster after their home went up in flames.
“We had just left 10 minutes before that,” Tessa said.
Centerton police say the suspect 38-year-old James Michael Evans quickly fled the scene, and they immediately put out an alert.
“They found him within 10 minutes of be on the lookout so they found him really quick,” Tessa said.
James was found more than 60 miles away in Greenwood where he was pulled over and arrested.
“Not so much what he took away from me, but my children will never be the same. Ever. And that’s what hurts the most,” Tessa said.
She says she was already in the process of moving into a different home in Bentonville where she and her kids are staying now, but they had nothing to their name anymore until Monday (Jan. 20) when the community came together to support them.
“The support is unbelievable," Tessa said. "Before my children come home in a few days we’re gonna have a complete house. My 11 year old knows, my 7 year old just knows that he gets all new toys and a brand new bed and brand new house. He’ll know the truth of what happened but in his eyes, the material things are what's important.”
Although the family of four are starting completely over, Tessa says she knows they will get through this.
“We’re starting completely fresh, and we’re gonna make it," she said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family. Those wanting to donate clothes or household items can drop them off at Lonesome Oak Storage on West Centerton Boulevard in Centerton.
James is being held in the Benton County Jail on charges of Felony Arson and Third-Degree Assault on a family or household member.