Clemson defensive back Lannden Zanders is safe after his childhood home accidentally burned down last weekend.
Lannden went home for the weekend last Saturday when the Tigers fell to No. 17 Pittsburgh, as he underwent season-ending shoulder surgery last month and isn’t on the team’s traveling roster.
Home alone in Kings Mountain, North Carolina — his dad, Lindell, was out of town — Lannden set a bonfire in the backyard like he had done countless times while growing up. Eventually, he went inside and went to bed.
Hours later, the fan in his bedroom had stopped. The fire department turned off the power — as his home was up in flames.
Though the cause of the fire hasn't specifically been determined, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said that Lannden believes it came from the fire pit.
"Lannden was crying hysterically," Lindell told the Greenville News of the phone call he received from his son around 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning.
"He was like, ‘Daddy, the house is on fire. The house is burning down.'"
Lindell said building a fire pit was something that Lannden had done since he was 10 years old. No matter the weather or situation, “he will have a fire pit. He’ll order a pizza, have it delivered to the house and he’ll sit by that fire pit.”
Now, though, Lindell said his son is taking the fire hard.
“He feels like it was his fault,” Lindell said, via the Greenville News. “I tell him, ‘Son, I don’t care about the house. As long as you’re OK, that’s all that matters to me. I can replace the house. I can’t replace you.’”
I am blessed and grateful for the God that I serve. I am also thankful for everyone that has has reached out with concerns and prayers. Storms don’t last forever 💜✝️
— Lannden Zanders (@LanndenZanders3) October 27, 2021
Lannden suffered a shoulder injury in the Tigers’ season-opening loss to Georgia last month, and needed surgery. He had shoulder surgery last season, too, and missed a pair of games. The junior finished last year with 25 total tackles and one sack.
While it’s easy to see why Lindell would be upset, he insists that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
“People say, ‘How are you smiling?’” Lindell said, via the Greenville News. “I tell them it’s because my son is alive.
“All this material stuff doesn’t matter to me. My boys are the reason I live. They are everything … It’s only by the grace of God that my youngest son is here. I’m happy.”