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Nonprofit started for Nash County burned woman

Posted August 13, 2009
Updated October 19, 2009

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— Friends and family have formed a nonprofit organization to help an injured Nash County woman pay her medical bills.

Michele Allen, 36, was badly burned while escaping from her home at the intersection of N.C. Highway 97 and Halifax Road, near Sharpsburg, on Monday.

Neighbors reported hearing an explosion before seeing the flames. Witnesses said Allen's hair and clothes were on fire when she fled the burning house.

Allen had only lived in the rented house for a few days.

People wishing to donate to the nonprofit group should make checks payable to "Hope for Michelle" and send them to:

Hope for Michelle
c/o Southern Bank
P.O.Box 488
Battleboro, N.C. 27809

Family member Brian West said the money will be used for Allen’s medical bills and for her mother’s travel expenses as she drives back and forth to Chapel Hill to be with her daughter.

Allen was transported by helicopter to the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill for treatment of second- and third-degree burns. She was listed in critical condition.

The home was owned by Rachel Whitley, according to county property records. Neighbors said Whitley is in her 70s. Her husband, 89-year-old Aaron Whitley, is the owner of Witco Pest Control, which is located near the house.

The fire was caused by a liquid propane leak, investigators said.

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  • teacher-mom Aug 14, 2009

    I rode by that little house on Wednesday. There is not much left of it. She is lucky to be alive. I hope she makes it.