After a fire claimed Amanda Campbell’s home on Oct. 18, she and her daughter have been staying in a hotel.
“It’s pretty much a complete loss,” said Campbell. “I mean I was able to get a few things out of there, but nothing major. … I don’t have a place to go right now. I think the hotel is up for maybe a month or so. I don’t know where I’m going from here.”
The home was without insurance coverage, leaving Campbell and her daughter without a place to live and without additional resources expected to come in the near future. Currently, the two are staying at Motel M in Fairlea.
When speaking with The West Virginia Daily News, Campbell was frustrated with the need to ask for help but reached out to the community in a time of need.
“We appreciate any help that we get,” Campbell said. “We really really do, it means a lot. … I don’t even know what to ask for. I need everything, everything.”
The fire brought the Lewisburg Fire Department to Caldwell on Monday, Oct. 18.
“It started right in the living room,” Campbell said. “I mean, it just took it all.”
Campbell explained she got out of the home, but once she realized there were still pets inside, she attempted to go back in to help them. It was too late.
“I tried so hard to get them, [I thought] I could save them, but I just couldn’t,” Campbell said.
Local Roger Honaker has helped the family coordinate the donations and hotel stay that have come in since the fire, for which Campbell described him as her “lifesaver.”
“The family is still in a motel,” said Honaker on Nov. 8. “They are paid through [November] 15, then they will be homeless. Hopefully, some people will reach out. We have been trying to get a small camper to put them in for the winter, if we could find a low-priced one or even a donated one.”
Those that want to help can send funds through Chime, a service similar to Paypal, using the account labeled $Amanda-Campbell-99, connected to the phone number 304-647-0472, or the email firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, those wishing to extend their stay at Motel M can contact the motel itself.
This fire is just one of several that have emerged in the past few weeks. While speaking about a Quinwood fire that claimed a life in October, Greenbrier County 911 Center Director Mike Honaker emphasized the need for families to take extra precautions when beginning to heat their homes for the winter.
“If you do use additional heaters, whether they’re electric heaters, kerosene heaters, wood stoves, or fireplaces, take all the necessary precautions to ensure [you] do it safely, because we will continue to see little upticks in the number of fire calls in the next couple months,” Honaker said. “We normally see an increase in the number of fires in residences this time of year, as the temperatures begin to change and it becomes colder.”
How can a family prepare for the season? While no method is perfect, and some tragedies are unavoidable, there are a few things someone can do to prepare.
“These [fires] are sometimes the result of people who begin to use kerosene heaters, or begin to use their fireplaces or wood stoves and haven’t ensured that the chimney or the wood stove has been cleaned. There’s quite a few people that still use electric heaters. [If you put it in] your home and there’s a stack of newspapers, or books, or a piece of furniture … too close to it, the next thing you know, you have a stack catch on fire, and it’s out of control before you can really do much with it. Be really, really careful this time of year with auxiliary heat sources.”
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