Couple Homeless After Elberta Fire - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/13/05

Couple Homeless After Elberta Fire

The remains of the Elberta. The remains of the Elberta.

There is still no word on what started the fire which destroyed the century-old Elberta Inn in Lyons, Georgia. This historic hotel was home to a few businesses and some tenants who lost everything.

Things are just starting to get back to normal, but while many are trying to move on, others simply can't.

Jamie and Ashley Deal can't bring themselves back to the place they once called home. "I just can't bear to see it," said Jamie. "It's bad enough that I have it in my mind."

The Deals lived at the Elberta for just a few short months. In that amount of time, they grew to love their small apartment in the historic downtown hotel. "We enjoyed it, but it's all gone now," said Jamie.

All gone in front of their very eyes. Monday night, Jamie was sleeping on the couch when his wife called to tell him their building was on fire. That's when Jamie when right back to sleep. "I thought she was joking," he said.

But it didn't take long to realize this was no laughing matter. "It hit me the moment it happened. That I'd lost everything and it was just a catastrophe."

Now the Deals are staying at a nearby motel, thinking of things they can never replace, trying to find a place to live with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

"Why'd it have to happen to us?" asked Ashley.

Jamie plans to "try to rebuild our lives, try to find someplace to move into and hope it never happens again."

The cause of the fire has still not been determined. As of this evening, there were still hot spots, though firefighters are hopeful today's drizzle will help.

Reported by: Hena Daniels, hdaniels@wtoc.com

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