Local News

House Fire Displaces Durham Family

Posted December 25, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— A Durham family is no doubt glad to have each other on Christmas morning; still, the holiday is wrapped in sadness. A fire that gutted their home two days before Christmas has forced the Albert Smith family to relocate to a motel. A faulty furnace was cited as the cause.

The fire was under way as the Smiths returned home from visiting relatives. As they got to their street, police and firefighters had it blocked off so they could battle the flames.

Smith, his wife, Edna, and their 6-year-old daughter, Tiffany, discovered that it was their brick ranch house at 5114 Peppercorn Street the crews were trying to save.

Tiffany was devastated on several counts: First, she worried that Santa would not be able to find her since her home was destroyed, and second, the first-grader lost her collection of 100 teddy bears, each of which had been named. The child asked her father if the teddy bears had burned up and died in the blaze.

Friends, relatives and strangers have been dropping by with clothes, gifts, toys and money. Smith says every bit of it is much appreciated.

Possessions that were not burned directly were covered in soot and water. The roof caved in, and Smith says all they now own was what had been riding in the trunk of the car as they drove home.

People interested in helping the Smiths can contact their neighbors, the Buxtons, at 5110 Peppercorn St., Durham, NC 27704.

The Smiths will spend Christmas Day with relatives in Granville County.