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‘A lot of doors are still shut’: Family searching for home after devastating fire

Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 11:08 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A Savannah family’s in a place they never thought they would be - forced to live with relatives after an electrical fire destroyed their home. With nowhere else to go, that fire also took more than 30 years of memories days before Christmas.

The fire department condemned the house the same day of the fire. The family said they’re blessed to be alive, but they’re going into the new year trying to find a another place to call home.

“I heard a pop,” said Carol Allen, the homeowner’s daughter.

The refrigerator in Carol Allen’s room caught on fire, spreading to the attic and everywhere in the house.

“So now we’re just homeless,” said Allen.

Allen was getting out of the shower when she saw the smoke. Her mother Claretha was sleeping.

“If she was sleeping then both of us would’ve been gone and I thanks God for that,” said Claretha Hamilton, who owns the home.

All she could think about was her mom.

“You’re looking at 35 years of memories,” said Allen.

Allen said her mother worked to own and pay off the house after her father died. Now, almost everything they owned is gone.

“We had insurance, but we don’t have it now because we had to choose between eating and paying the bills so it slipped by us,” she said.

The mother and daughter both have expensive medical conditions. Allen has a rare, incurable heart condition. Her lung collapsed and she slipped into a coma two months ago.

“As I was in the coma…this happened and I’m fighting my way back.”

She said doctors tried to inject calcium in her arm and somehow the needle came out and gave her this burns. Now her hand doesn’t close even after 10 surgeries.

Allen’s mother was her caretaker for a while, but has her own medical conditions - diabetes and arthritis.

“Now I have to be the caretaker to my mom.”

She said that starts with finding a place for them to live, but COVID is making that process even more challenging.

“A lot of places aren’t opening up. A lot of apartment complexes aren’t open...a lot of doors are still shut.”

The family said they know their troubles won’t last.

“It was hard, but like the old people used to say...it’s God will,” said Hamilton.

“We have a common belief in God. We know there’s storms we go through, but God shows us the way to come out so I’m holding on to that. Holding on to...I still have my mother,” Allen said.

The American Red Cross and Salvation Army have been out to help the family with basic necessities. If you would like to help the family, they’re asking for people to donate their time to help move stuff out of the home. You can also donate to their GoFundMe page.

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