Fire destroys home

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 9, 2001

Fire devastates young family

Disaster struck a young couple and their children Monday evening, leaving a smoldering pile of rubble where their home was, in the Central community.

"Everything we owned was in there," said Willie Miller Jr., as he watched firefighters frantically working to extinguish the flames that so rapidly consumed his family's every possession.

But despite the efforts of the ten firefighters from three departments, the home was too far gone to salvage anything.

"It burned so fast," Miller said. "One minute, I smelled smoke near one of the back bedrooms, and got my kids out of the house; the next, there were flames coming out from all sides."

"When we got to the fire station to get the truck, we could see the dark column of smoke from the house fire," said Central Volunteer Fire Chief Bob Newton. "It was fully-involved when we got here."

Because of the intense heat and heavy smoke from the blaze, firefighters estimate the house was built of fat-lighter' pine wood.

The volunteers from Central Fire Department were joined in their efforts by Midway and Damascus Volunteer Fire Department, and a unit from Greenville Fire Department in extinguishing the fire-an effort that would take nearly two hours to accomplish.

Miller, 31 and his wife Evelyn lived at 1418 Old Central Road, next door to Willie's father, Willie Miller Sr.

The four bedroom home belonged to the senior Miller.

"I was trying to help my son and his family by letting them live there," said Miller Sr. "But now they have nothing."

The younger Miller, an employee with the Butler County Commission, works on the Road Maintenance Department.

While firefighters continued their efforts, members of the small closely-knit community gathered to offer their support to the Millers.

The Millers have no insurance to cover the home, which consisted of a wood-framed structure built around a mobile home.

"We are just grateful to be out alive," said Miller's wife Evelyn. "I don't know what we will do now, but thank God the children were not hurt."

Willie and Evelyn have two young children, both boys.

While the children were upset about their belongings being destroyed by the fire, their parents are wondering how they will clothe them.

Their eight-year-old wears size 16 pants, XL shirts, and size six shoes. The two-year-old wears size four shorts and shirts, and size eight shoes.

Evelyn Miller wears size 16 pants, XL shirts and size 10 shoes, and Willie wears size 40 pants, XXL shirts and size 9-1/2 shoes.

While the fire was still being extinguished, friends of the Millers were contacting churches to try and get them some assistance.

"I don't know where they will be able to stay until we can rebuild their home," said Miller Sr., who has worked helping others at L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital for more than 30 years. "We will just have to help them start over again."