After house fire, family matters most

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 8, 2012

By Nathan Hardin
CHINA GROVE — Mike and Hilary Larson stood in a circle with friends and family members outside of their ruined mobile home Tuesday morning.
Holding hands, they thanked God they were alive.
The Larsons’ lot owner contacted them just after midnight Tuesday morning to notify them of the fire that was burning through their Vivian Road mobile home.
Fire investigators called the residence “a complete loss.”
“I turned the heater on, next thing you know we’re getting the call,” Mike Larson said Tuesday as he worked to salvage items from the burned residence. “I didn’t believe it. I wanted to wake up from the dream.”
Deborah Horne, fire investigator for the Rowan County Fire Marshal’s Office, said a space heater in the living room started the fire.
Horne called it a “miracle” the family was out of the home Monday night because the fire started between the Larsons’ bedroom and the bedroom of their 2-year-old daughter Kaylee.
“It would have cut them off from being able to get to her,” she said. “It’s just a miracle they weren’t there.”
The Larsons and their daughter were staying at a friend’s house in Rockwell after Mike found mold growing under the floorboard in the living room of their mobile home. The home sits just behind Bostian Elementary School off Old Beatty Ford Road.
“Thank God they weren’t in there,” Hilary’s aunt Becky Sifford said. “Thank God they found that black mold.”
Sifford was one of several family members helping remove things from the home Tuesday and offering advice on how to start anew.
“We’re such a tight-knit family,” she said. “We’re going to be fine.”
Paths of plywood boards lay throughout the house as Mike Larson pulled out a half-melted GameCube and smoke-damaged boxes of photos and books.
The ground around the yellow fire tape remained saturated with water from the fire hoses the night before.
Bostian Heights, along with seven other emergency departments, assisted with the fire.
Elizabeth Hanford Dole Red Cross volunteers are helping the Larsons with lodging and food.
Donations are being handled by the Red Cross at 1930 Jake Alexander Blvd. W.
The Larsons, who were married in May, said they’re optimistic about the future despite losing almost everything in the blaze.
“We’ve started from the bottom and worked our way up before,” Hilary Larson said. “We can start from the bottom and work our way out again.”
Larson has lived in the house for almost two years.
“I almost had it paid off,” she said.
As family members hugged and talked about insurance, lost medical forms and Red Cross vouchers, Kaylee swayed in a nearby swing, one of the only things on the lot which appeared unharmed.
After unearthing a trunk from the soot in what was Kaylee’s bedroom, Hilary pulled out a red stuffed lion spared by the fire and gave it to her daughter.
“My baby and my husband and me made it out,” she said. “So my important properties are out.”
Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.
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