Fire cuts off familyís water, electricity
By Shavonne Potts
A resident displaced by a weekend fire at a vacant Oak Mountain Road house says she doesnít know how her family will restore power to their own home.
For now, theyíre living with a relative who has no running water, also due to the fire.
The house that burned, located at 550 Oak Mountain Road, was used primarily for storage and was not lived in, but the family was receiving electricity through the home.
Built in the 1900s, the house once belonged to Barbara Lindsayís father, but he hadnít lived in it since the 1970s, she said by phone.
Barbara lived in a mobile home beside the house with her adult son, his girlfriend and their children. The house contained some of Barbaraís grandchildrenís toys, some clothing and other items.
The fire started Saturday when her son, James, was repairing a fuse, Barbara said.
ěIt connected. It blew up in his face and threw him back,î she said.
James, 36, wasnít injured, but a fire had been ignited.
The family called 911, Barbara got her grandchildren out of the mobile home and they went to her daughterís house just behind the burning home.
Heat from the fire shattered windows in Barbaraís mobile home, and the familyís clothing and other belongings suffered serious smoke damage.
The Red Cross helped Barbara replace medications she lost and put the family up in a motel for a few days. The family left the motel Wednesday morning but couldnít move back into Barbaraís mobile home, so they went to her daughterís home.
Now nine people are living there, including five adults and four children ranging in age from 2 months to 10 years old.
And since that house gets water from the well that served the property, and its pump runs on electricity, the family has no running water.
Barbara said her family canít afford to make the necessary repairs.
ěWe have to hire an electrician, get new wire and a new pole. We have to have it redone like it was a brand new house,î Barbara said.
Since the house is so old, the family has been told it will have to be rewired, and they donít know how much that will cost.
ěI just know itís going to be real expensive,î Barbara said.
Barbara is a widow and her daughter is disabled.
Duke Energy spokeswoman Betsy Conway said there is no fee associated with reconnections, but the residence must pass an inspection.
Conway explained the county requires homes to pass an inspection if there is any damage that would affect a structureís electrical system. After an inspection is deemed satisfactory, Duke is notified and power can then be restored.
Anyone who would like to help the family should contact Emergency Services Specialist Deborah Lineberger with the Elizabeth Hanford Dole Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Lineberger said the Red Cross does not have a place to store items. If you want to help, you can have the Red Cross pass along a name and contact information to clients.
Any monetary donations earmarked for fire or other disaster relief will be divided among multiple families in need. Lineberger said the organization isnít allowed to receive money for a particular family. Those who wish to make a monetary donation must also say they want it used in Rowan County.
To make donations, contact Lineberger at 704-633-3854, extension 106.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.