Family reflects on three killed in Caryville house fire; seeking help from community

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Family members are seeking the community’s help after three people died in a house fire Wednesday in Caryville. Those who knew them say what and who they left behind is also a sad story.

“She was my only sister; I’ll miss her extremely,” Renea Smith, sister of one of the victims, said.

Smith is the younger sister of Brenda Rucker. Brenda’s husband Michael Rucker, along with Michael’s mother Carolyn Rucker were all killed in the house fire. Smith says it’s all hard to process, especially considering how close she was to her sister.

“I didn’t get to see her as much as I wanted to, but when we did see each other, it was like we hadn’t been apart,” she said.

Brenda established a lot of close relationships with those she loved, including with her husband Michael who she had been with since the age of 14.

“They were great together, and they stood by one another through some hard times and some good times,” Brenda’s first cousin, Christy Pack said.

Many of the good times the couple had together involved their grandchildren.

“Her grandchildren were her whole life I do believe, like I said she adored them,” Smith said about her sister.

Now those that adored all three of the victims are hoping to lay them to rest without burdening Brenda and Michael’s two children.

“We’re trying to raise money just to help these two young children that are left behind. It essentially took everyone that they had,” Pack said.

The family is hoping to raise $20,000 for all three funerals. Pack has established a page on her Facebook account where you can donate directly there. The family is also accepting donations through Paypal ( and CashApp ($Cpack72).

Editor’s Note: Carolyn Rucker is Michael Rucker’s mother. This has been corrected above.