House fire didn’t destroy everything
by Staff Writer
CORNELIUS – Denise Powers thought the fire that destroyed her rental home Feb. 12 took a lifetime of memories and possessions with it.
The single mother’s two girls, 5-year-old Kylee and 7-year-old Mekenna, were with their dad when Powers woke up to a house engulfed in flames. She made it out safely, but the fire didn’t spare much else.
“What didn’t get smoke damaged was water damaged or burned. It just all looked like trash,” Powers recalled. “The insurance adjustor came, and he said everything’s gone.”
Powers was at a neighbor’s house, just about to throw away two oversized dolls after two attempts to clean them, when Scott Bailey knocked on the door. The Huntersville resident owns Paul Davis Restoration – Charlotte with his wife Abbie, and he told Powers he could save her things.
“When we looked at the pile of rubble that was in the front yard, it kind of broke your heart,” Scott Bailey said.
The Paul Davis team recovered all but two boxes out of two truckloads.
What they thought was ruined now smells, looks and feels brand new.
A tulle-lined, cream white Easter dress with delicate pastel flower embroidery is as light and fresh as ever.
Hand-glued sequins and glitter on bulbs will stay put and shine for many more Christmases, without any reminder of a fire.
The Baileys invited insurance adjusters and fire damage experts to a day of restoring the Powers’ belongings.
“They were like, ‘no way you’re going to be able to save that,’” Suzanne Richardson of Paul Davis-Charlotte said.
But they cleaned, deodorized and dried clothes and keepsakes, like Powers’ great uncle’s honorable discharge papers from the U.S. Army dated July 14, 1921.
Thanks to free realty services from Marzia Mazzotti with Hines and Asscociates, the family found a new home near Cornelius Elementrary. Powers, Mekenna and Kylee will get remnants of their old lives back after they move in April 1.
Paul Davis-Charlotte, the family company, will also present Mekenna and Kylee with a few replacements. One favorite purple hippo pillow pet was burned and permanently discolored. So the Baileys, Richardson and operation supervisor Hank Williams replaced it, along with a second pillow pet for the other sister, bicycles, helmets and a dollhouse.
“You can’t really feel sorry for yourself, because there’s so many people being so kind and so generous. There’s no room for pity. My heart’s so filled with beautiful things,” Powers said.
First Baptist Church in Cornelius has housed Powers and her daughters and collected donations for them. Cornelius Cares set up an Aquesta Bank fund for donations; Community School of Davidson students held bake sales; and the Presbyterian Church and Powers’ Huntersville Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints all pitched in. That support has kept the family in their community and kept the girls comfortable. They haven’t missed a day of school since losing their house.
“We’ve just been inundated,” Powers said. “It’s such an ugly thing, but it’s been such a beautiful thing at the same time.”