Local News

Durham Family Glad To Be Alive After Losing Home In Fire

Posted December 18, 2002

— Thousands of people lost power during the recent ice storm. One Durham family, who had been without electricity for a week, lost their home trying to stay warm.

For the last six days, the Sharpe family has been living with their neighbors, just 1,000 feet away from the burned-out shell of their home.

"Within seconds, the kitchen and dining room [were] just flames, just blew up," Sue Sharpe said.

They had been using a wood stove and fireplace to keep their powerless house warm, but somehow the stove sparked a fire in the structure of the house.

"We had been burning that wood stove for 15 years and never had a problem, but all it takes is once," Gene Sharpe said.

The fire smoldered overnight. The smoke alarms did not work because they ran off electricity, but fortunately, the family woke up in time to get out.

"Gene went on downstairs and before I knew it, I heard him scream at the top of his voice, 'Open the windows. The house is on fire,'" Sue said.

Sue fell down the stairs and injured her back getting out. Everyone made it out OK, even the two dogs. The house went up in flames just minutes later. They said all that could be salvaged were two family heirlooms.

"I have to keep telling myself, 'Thank you, dear Lord,' for saving our lives," Sue said.

The Red Cross has given the Sharpe clothes and food, and is helping them get a temporary apartment. A fund has also been set up to help the Sharpe family.

If anyone would like to help the Sharpe family, you can make a donation at:

The Sharpe Family Account c/o First Citizen Bank 3200 Hillsborough Road Durham, NC 27705

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