House fire can't destroy man's memories
Posted December 15, 2008 5:25 p.m. EST
Updated December 15, 2008 5:51 p.m. EST
Fayetteville, N.C. — The day after a fire destroyed the only home Manos Dutton has known for more than 40 years, he sifted through the rubble for any mementos he could salvage.
"It's totally destroyed. This is not the home I grew up in," said Dutton, 47, who has lived in the house on Colgate Drive since he was 6.
A space heater sparked the Sunday night fire, according to a preliminary investigation.
The dark cherry-wood furniture that belonged to Dutton's grandmother and the pictures that lined his fireplace mantel went up in flames.
"You know, when you're the last one – you have no family left – all you have are your pictures. That's all I got," said Dutton, who is unemployed and has no insurance.
The fire came on the eve of a sad anniversary at the house. Fifteen years ago Monday, Dutton's mother had a heart attack and died inside the home.
"That's what this house means to me – it gives me a piece of remembrance of my family," he said.
Dutton was able to salvage some items from the charred remains of the house, including photo albums and a plaque honoring his grandmother as 1978 Mother of the Year.
"Everything is not lost. There's hope," he said as he looked through photos of his mother and grandmother.
The American Red Cross is helping Dutton with clothing and other needs, and he's living with friends until he can get a place of his own.
"I would love to rebuild here. This is my home. This is all I know," he said.