Local News

Goldsboro Family Fights Flood, Fire In Same Year

Posted December 29, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST

— Families pushed out of their homes by floodwaters are facing a long recovery. For one family, the flood was just the start of their trouble.

Michelle Howard is ready to put this year behind her.

Her home in Goldsboro was flooded by Floyd. So she moved to Rocky Mount. Then disaster struck that home.

A few days ago, in the middle of the night, the Rocky Mount home burned down while Howard and her son Eric were sleeping.

"I like to sleep with the cover over my head, and he started coughing, and that's what woke me up," Howard said. "It was real black in there. We got out."

"I guess I'm having bad luck," Howard said.

Their next door neighbor, Rosa Whitaker, called firefighters. She was worried the young family would be hurt or killed in the blaze.

"Everything is shut up and you know someone is in there and you don't know whether they are out or not," Whitaker said.

Howard is grateful she and Eric escaped, but they are looking for a new place to live for the second time in three months.

"(Eric) is really mad about the situation," Howard said. "He says, 'Mommy, why do we keep moving? Why?'"

"It's not good," Eric said. "I'm scared we might get on fire."

"I'm a good person and been through a lot, and I think it's going to get better," Howard said. "It has to."

The fire apparently started because of an electrical problem or a space heater.

The Howards are staying with a relative now, but have just a few days to find a new home. Unfortunately, since all the flood victims are looking for housing, getting a new place to live will not be easy.