Charlie is starting over

By Bob Weaver

Well-known Calhouner Charlie Blair, 56, was sorting through debris Sunday after fire destroyed his home at Broomstick last Thursday.

Upon arrival, firemen faced a roaring fire fueled by lots of contents. Several thousand gallons of water was quickly depleted, and the nearest fire hydrant was several miles away.

"I was born in this house, been here all my life, except when I was in the military eight years," he said, "I've always salvaged about everything, and there's a few things around here you can still sell."

He began quoting prices for aluminum and metal, saying "That old awning over there is worth something."

Grantsville Fire Chief Craig Gherke said there was an open-flame gas heater in one part of the house when the fire started. A gas pipe under the house was leaking gas and on-fire shortly after firemen arrived.

Charlie had hitch-hiked to Parkersburg the evening before the fire.

"The church people took me to church and helped me out. First time I'd been there. I'm gonna give them some of my flowering shrubs for bein' nice to be," referring to the parishioners of Victory Baptist Church and the Five Forks Community Church.

"My friends and neighbors come out here and gave me some things, and my old buddy Donald Smith gave me this army jacket," pointing to the Smith name on the lapel.

"Hey, I got a new cap from my neighbor," referring to Wes Rogers.

Charlie said he was putting a wood stove in his garage, indicating that's where he would be staying, but says he may put a mobile home on the property.

"This is hard on me," he said, "I had a lot in this place and it goes back, back, back."

After asking for photos of the fire taken by the Herald, he said "I'm gonna make it."

Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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