Local News

Onslow County Family Unable To Find Place To Live After Fire

Posted August 13, 2003

— An Onslow County woman says no one will rent a home to her after a deadly fire.

Mary Alice Turner is living at the Ronald McDonald House with three of her children, while two other children are at UNC Hospitals recovering from the fire.

The family has nowhere to go once they're out of the hospital.

The fire that destroyed the family's trailer in Onslow County killed Turner's grandchild and five of her children.

Wednesday, she talked about her life since that devastating day in July.

"It gets hard," she said. "But I know my children need me to stay strong."

Turner was surrounded by hospital staff and three of her surviving children: 11 year-old Nicholas, 8-year-old Sharetha and 9-year-old Lauren.

Two of Turner's children are still hospitalized but could come home any day now.

The problem is -- they don't have a home to go to. Turner said she cannot find anyone willing to rent her a home.

"All the counties I've tried, Onslow, Johnston, Sampson, Orange -- I keep getting turned down," she said.

Turner blames her trouble on the fire, not on her history of writing bad checks.

She was arrested on fraud charges just days after the fire. Deputies escorted her from jail to her childrens' funeral.

Charges against her mother were dismissed last week, when she told a judge Turner forged checks in her name.

"Me and my mom have a good relationship," Mary Alice Turner said. "She said she knew the only reason I wrote those checks was to feed her grandchildren."

Turner said that is all behind her. Now she wants to make a home and a new life for her children.

If Turner does not find a place to live by the time her children come home from the hospital, she said she will only have one option: to move the entire family into a homeless shelter.

An Onslow County resident planned to donate a trailer to Turner but withdrew the offer after learning about the charges against her.

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