Local News

When fire destroys Durham mother's car, Stem couple steps in

Posted October 25, 2012
Updated October 26, 2012

— A homeless Durham mother who lost nearly everything when her car caught fire earlier this month has found hope in the kindness of a passer-by.

Larry Green saw flames shooting out from under Carlota Brown's car and tried to flag her down to pull over.

"The fuel line was broken and underneath the car was already on fire," Green said. "How can you not stop (to help)?"

Brown said she never saw Green's signals, but as soon as she realized what was happening, he was there to help.

"(He) was a guardian angel because I did not see him pull over. I didn't even see him behind me," she said. "I just looked up, and he was there."

Green helped Brown get her two children out safely, just as flames engulfed the car, destroying it.

"I saw smoke from from under the hood and I just turned the car off, jumped out of the car, got my children and just ran," Brown said. "I was grateful that me and my children had gotten out safely, but watching my car burn, it was devastating."

When fire destroys Durham mother's car, Stem couple steps in Couple gives homeless mother new wheels after devastating car fire

Green comforted her, patting her on the shoulder, she said. 

"He was just telling me, 'Thank God that your children are out, and that they're safe' and that 'anything you had can be replaced,'" she said.

But the fire not only took the family's car, it incinerated their groceries and the cash Brown had just withdrawn from the bank. After staying at the Durham Rescue Mission for three months, what little the family had was in that car.

"The groceries that were in there, everything – my identification, Social Security card – everything is gone," Brown said. "My car had everything in it. That was my only means of transportation to get my children to and from school, and to go to work."

That's when Green and his wife, Paula, stepped in to help.

"(We) saw people in need," he said.

They bought Brown a car. 

"They will always have a special place in my heart," she said. "It's overwhelming and really unbelievable, but I'm very thankful and grateful."

Brown is working and attending school at Durham Technical Community College to try and get back on her feet, and the Greens want to help her find a permanent place to live. 

"If there was anybody ever deserving, it's Carlota," Green said. "How could you not want to help?"


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  • lisa4 Oct 30, 2012

    Great story!!! We need to have more of these stories:) God bless the Green family and Ms. Brown and her family!!

  • esteryates69 Oct 26, 2012


  • sssh.. whisper Oct 26, 2012

    Great story!!!!

  • Diamond2010 Oct 26, 2012

    AWESOME STORY and Great ending...Lord I Thank You for the Green's! They are truly some Awesome people with a huge heart & compassion for others. May you ever Bless them!

  • csui Oct 26, 2012

    A reminder to us all to try and do what we can when someone is in need. Many blessings to all families involved.

  • foster208 Oct 26, 2012

    Love this story. We need more positive news stories. Kudos to the Green family.

  • vipcruizer2 Oct 26, 2012

    Proud to know the Green family. They are good people 24/7!! I'm happy they could help this family, and glad to see she is more than willing to try and help herself. Such a heartwarming story.

  • RGMTRocks Oct 26, 2012

    Larry and Paula Green are two of the finest people you'd ever be so lucky to meet or know. It's of absolutely no surprise to me that God placed them in this lady's path at her time of need and that they had no other thought than to help her and her children. Things DO happen for a reason! I love me some Green's! :)

  • truthandhappiness Oct 26, 2012

    God Bless these 2 families!

  • dwallace9392 Oct 26, 2012

    Great story!!!! We need more wonderful stories like this and Thank-You Mr.Larry Green and wife for helping her.You did a great thing and God will bless you all for it.God Bless Corlota and her family as well. I pray that you all remain friends!!!!!