ROWLAND — While most people were preparing to have a holiday feast and anticipating what gifts they would be receiving Christmas Day, Melissa Grant’s family was shifting through the rubble after a fire destroyed her home.
Grant’s home at 301 Main St. caught fire on Monday — Christmas Eve — while she in Cheraw, S.C. Two people called 911 to report the fire, but it was already too late: The blaze destroyed the home and everything inside, including Christmas presents.
“When the smoke was seen, people were calling immediately,” Grant said. “When the fire department got there, flames were already coming out of the roof. We lost everything.”
Grant said the fire has been devastating to her family. which includes her two children, Samantha and Timothy Griffin, who had come home on Monday to see their home in flames. Just the day before the fire, Grant and her kids invited a family that couldn’t afford to have a Christmas meal over for dinner.
She said she always tries to help those in need — and now she’s the one who needs help.
“When this happened I didn’t know who to go to because everyone comes to me,” said Grant, who has worked for five years as a security officer at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. “Me and my kids were just lost. We didn’t have anyone to turn to, we’re just lost.”
Grant’s family celebrated Christmas at Atkinson Inn and Suites without opening presents, but “when Christmas came we were still happy because we had each other.”
Grant said that the American Red Cross provided clothing, food and money for their motel room, but she and her children will soon be on their own.
Grant said that the home was insured.
“Financially people around here can’t help because they’re in a bind too,” Grant said, “so we don’t ask people for anything because I know financially they can’t afford it, so I would never ask them for anything.”
She said that the family will persevere.
“We’re waiting on the insurance,” Grant said. “We’re just trying to make it day by day.
“When you don’t have any money, or the means to just get in a house, it’s really hard.”
The fire started in the living room of the home, according to Joe McGirt, the chief of the Rowland Rural Fire Department, but firefighters don’t know what caused it
Grant said that she just hopes they are able to stay in their motel room until they can afford to get into a new house, but she is grateful for her friends, first responders, the American Red Cross and for the managers at the Atkinson Inn for all of their help.
“We’re just waiting it out and hopefully people can step forward and just help us a little bit,” Grant said. “That’s all we can do.”
The Robesonian has chosen not to publish Grant’s cell phone number, but the newspaper will try to get anyone wishing to help in touch with Grant. Just call Editor Donnie Douglas at 910-272-6104 or staff writer Cory Riner at 910-272-6146.
“We’ll get past it, we will — if an angel could just come by,” Grant said.