Fire destroys men's rehab group home in Statesboro

STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - A rehab program in Statesboro is picking up the pieces after a fire destroyed one of their group homes.

Ten men were displaced and lost everything, but they are staying hopeful. The Damascus Men's Rehab Program was started eight years ago as a long-term program offering substance abuse treatment. One of the homes they stay in is now a complete loss.

"Seeing the damage that was done to the house, there's this sense of what this cost the men, not what it cost me," said Vernon Howard, Owner/Director. "How will they handle this emotionally, how will they handle the loss of their personal things? Most of them arrived to me with everything they owned in the world, so all the things they owned in the world were lost in that fire."

Luckily, the men were all in counseling at the time of the blaze. They say it could have been a lot worse if people were in the home.

"If could have been a lot worse, so I took that as a blessing," said Steve Mooney, Co-Director. "We were then able to communicate with all the fellows because we were all together on Friday night counseling and we were able to come back and talk with them and get an action plan going."

Friends of Howard have set up a Go Fund Me account and brought clothes by the facility. He says the biggest blessing is the monetary donations that are given. With the donations, he is able to buy the equipment and work clothing the men need for their jobs.

"The community has just been great with their outpour of love and help," Howard said.

For now, the men have been staying at the other program homes. Howard says they are full, but they are making it work.

"I have two new men who are on their way this week, and all of the beds are now filled, but we have a couple of men who will be moving out, so God is going to fix our numbers so we can accommodate the next person coming to look for recovery," Howard said.

The owners of the facility say they will rebuild and will continue to care for these men that were displaced.

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