Woman loses home, husband in six days

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 7, 2011

By Nathan Hardin
On Nov. 27, Janet Hill watched her Chalice Court home burn to the ground.
Six days later, she watched her husband of 12 years die.
Hill said she doesn’t have the words to explain the last week.
For her, it’s simply been “a nightmare.”
“I’m ready to wake up and it all be over,” she said.
William Hill was taken to Rowan Regional Medical Center on Nov. 11.
Doctors gave the 67-year-old enough antibiotics so that he could go to Autumn Care Assisted Living.
But the day after the house fire, William Hill was taken back to the hospital and diagnosed with double pneumonia.
“They couldn’t give a time limit,” Janet Hill said. “They said it wouldn’t be long.”
William Hill, who suffered from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and extreme emphysema, died five days later.
Sagging yellow fire tape lay on the ground around the ruins at 2765 Chalice Court on Tuesday.
Parts of the yard were worn and tracked with soot where family members have worked to unearth as many salvageable items as possible from the home’s blackened remains.
After filling out her husband’s obituary, Janet Hill picked up her fire report on Tuesday from the Rowan County Fire Marshal’s Office.
“Due to extensive fire damage, an exact cause could not be determined,” the report read.
But it stated that the home’s window air conditioning unit did sustain heavy fire damage.
“We cannot rule out that the air conditioning unit may have caused the fire,” wrote the investigator.
Janet Hill said she continues to remember things lost in the blaze that must be recorded for insurance.
On top of insurance phone calls, she said, she now also makes phone calls to friends and family about funeral and burial arrangements for her husband.
Hill’s daughter, Crystal Casper, said the last week has been hard on her mother.
“It’s too much at one time,” Casper said. “We’re just trying to do anything we can.”
Janet Hill said neighbors and churches have donated clothes and other goods to help.
“I didn’t even know some of my neighbors until the other day,” she said. “I’ve lived here 15 years.”
Hill’s grateful for the donations, she said, but she’s still struggling.
William Hill didn’t have any life insurance or savings.
Hill’s son-in-law took out a loan to help pay for his stepfather-in-law’s funeral, she said.
Having lost a year’s worth of Christmas presents, the 53-year-old said she’s hoping to go back to work on Monday so that she can get her grandchildren presents for the holidays.
“It’s going to be for my grandchildren,” she said. “The holidays are for the kids anyway.”
Contact Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.