Eric Berry answered his phone Thursday night, and on the other end was his mother, who told him she had some bad news.
Understandably, his mind raced.
“I've gotten three calls like that in the past few weeks (from family saying) 'I've got some bad news,'” said Berry, the Chiefs' 24-year old safety.
So imagine his initial horror when she told him his childhood home in Fairburn, Ga. — the one still inhabited by his parents and younger brothers — had gone up in flames, and his subsequent relief when she also told him that nobody got hurt.
“I was thankful — it was a big blow but nobody got hurt,” Berry said. “I was expecting something different.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that fire crews were called to the home at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, and Berry said no one was in the house at the time of the fire aside from Rocky, the family dog, who eventually escaped with the help of a neighbor.
“Our neighbor went in and broke the window and got him out,” Berry said. “I appreciate him for that.”
Berry understandably expressed sadness that the home, which is located nearly a half-hour away from Atlanta, is no more. Though he said he has a condo in Atlanta, he said he often chose to spend the night at the home whenever he returned to his home state.
“Shoot, I was spending more time at their house, spending the night there most of the time,” Berry said.
Berry said his family is still deciding what to do with the remains of the home, which Berry's father called a total loss, according told a Georgia news station.
But in the meantime, Berry thinks the family will simply stay in a hotel. His twin brothers,Elliot and Evan
, are senior defensive backs at Creekside High School with multiple high Division 1 offers.
“My crib is downtown and my brothers are still in school so it's easier for them to just get to where they need to go at the hotel,” Berry said. “My mom has got a bunch of hotel points and rewards, so she's about to use them up.”
Berry is interested to figure out what started the fire — he said the cause remains unknown — but in the meantime, he's just glad the phone call he got from his mother Thursday didn't take a worse turn.
“I was real nervous when she called me,” Berry said. “It could have been anything. But thankfully, it wasn't.”