Community supports Orange County teacher who lost home in fire

Goal to raise $5,000 using online fundraiser

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Colleagues, students, and strangers are working to get results for an Orange County teacher whose home was recently destroyed by a fire.

Jamee Gilson returned to her Lake County home after an accidental fire started Monday night on her back patio. Fire officials say it was due to an electrical malfunction within a power strip.

"I heard a popping noise and I went and I opened the back door and there were flames," Gilson said.

Gilson got out safely, but a family dog died despite rescue attempts.

The fire destroyed her home, and leaving a huge hole in the roof. The flames spread to her daughter's car and all that is left is melted metal.

"It blanketed the entire neighborhood, the smoke itself," Gilson said. "You couldn't really see anything above 20-25 feet, there was so much smoke out."

Her family went room by room, trying to save what they could. While her family over at West Orange High School is now rallying for one of their favorite teachers.

"It's heartbreaking and she doesn't deserve it," WOHS teacher Lindsay Conradt said.

Conradt started an online fundraiser and is calling on the Warrior family for support. The donations are pouring in from current and former students, faculty, and the community.

Conradt says everyone wants to help a teacher who touched their lives.

"She's got kids that come back to see her, she's got kids that let her know what's happening in their lives," Conradt said. "That's the kind of impact that a teacher like Jamee can have."

The teacher of more than 20 years is lost for words.

"That part of it is indescribable," Gilson said. "I think I'm going to need my entire summer to write thank you letters!"

She is now learning a lesson on how one person can change a community.

"Even as a language arts teacher, the words to express how much knowing all of these people... it just gives me hope that I will get through this too and things will get better eventually," she said.

Click here to visit a fundraising website.

About the Author: