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Blaze destroys sheriffs home
Fire appears to have started in downstairs laundry room
1 Fire 1 pic
A fire Saturday afternoon destroyed the home of Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Friends, family, neighbors and even strangers are pouring on the love for Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle and his family after their home caught fire on Saturday afternoon.

"We can't thank you enough for your support of us at this unbelievably painful and difficult time in our lives. The love and support we have felt from our community as a whole has been overwhelming," Carlisle said Monday.

"The fact alone that my family is all here and safe is enough to be grateful for."

Carlisle's daughter Cara Nix flew into town from Hawaii to be with her parents and younger siblings.

She said the family is grateful for the outpouring of support they have received.

"Words cannot express our gratitude for all of the prayers, thoughts, help and encouragement offered to our family during this difficult time," she said. "So many individuals have reached out to help us. The outpouring of generosity from friends, family and the community is unimaginable."

According to Dawson County Emergency Services Chief Lanier Swafford, the fire that destroyed the home appears to have started in the laundry room.

"It was called in that flames were in the laundry room," he said.

No one was injured in the blaze that was first reported just before 5 p.m.

"It looks like one person was home at the time, the sheriff's son," Swafford said. "It's a total loss."

Crews from Dawson and Forsyth counties worked to contain the fire, which also torched one of the family's cars and destroyed everything inside the 1,748 square foot home located on Carlisle Road, in southeastern Dawson County.

Officers on the scene said emergency personnel responded within two to three minutes of the initial call.

Flames could already be seen coming through the roof.

Carlisle arrived home a short time later.

Employees at the sheriff's office have set up an account at United Community Bank to collect monetary donations.

"People can make donations at any United Community Bank in the names of Billy and Cathy Carlisle," said Capt. Tony Wooten, department spokesman.

"They lost everything except the clothes they were wearing. This way, they can use the donations to buy what they need and at least they won't have to be as stressed about that part."

He also asked the community to respect the Carlisle's privacy as they rebuild and start ov