Firefighters raise money for elderly woman who lost son’s ashes in house fire
RALEIGH, N.C. (WRAL) - A North Carolina woman had a tough and tragic 2020: her son died from COVID-19, and she lost one house due to money problems and another when it burned down. But firefighters pitched in to make sure the new year is looking up.
When the shed 76-year-old Betty Campbell had been living in burned down, she lost her son, Eric Dunlap’s, ashes. He died from COVID-19 last April, a month after she could no longer afford the rent on her house.
“I can never recover,” Campbell said. “It really hurts, especially when I know my child is in there, burned up again.”
Campbell had been working two jobs and living in a shed in her sister, Mae Bryant’s, yard because she has trouble getting up and down the stairs inside the house. But on New Year’s Eve, an electrical fire consumed the shed.
Thankfully, Campbell was inside the house with her sister at the time, but all her belongings were lost.
“I just thank God because I could have been in there, asleep,” Campbell said.
Firefighters with Raleigh Station 11 came to knock down the flames, and into the next day, Capt. Dena Ali says she couldn’t get Campbell off her mind. So, Ali went on Facebook, hoping to raise a few hundred dollars to buy Campbell some clothes. Within 24 hours, she’d received $4,000.
“It’s just absolutely heartwarming,” Ali said. “We’re not as divided as we think. I think we really, truly share this common humanity that makes people want to look out for each other.”
In addition to the donations, Victor Company, a non-profit made up of minority Raleigh firefighters, worked with a company called Ameriglide to install a stair lift in Campbell’s sister’s house for free.
“There is a God that sits high and looks low. There are people who will come when you need them,” Bryant said.
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