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On Your Side: House fire demolition costs for a grieving family

7:14 PM, Sep 13, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The eldest of six, Susie George grew up just feet away from where she now lives.

A few steps separates her from piles of wood, brick and debris.

"This was our family house. This was my momma's house. I get up and I look at that house and it just hurts," said George.

Buried toys, some salvaged pictures and decades of memories.

"We lived here for 53 years me and Buggs. In these two houses," said George.

Her younger brother, 'Buggs,' died in the house fire on September 8. The same flames and smoke that consumed this home and ripped it apart killed Cecil Ray Hepler.

Officers say that same day nearby someone set two other small fires. But this one, which started in a barrel quickly spread and turned deadly. Leaving behind mounting debt, George says the family simply can't afford.

The city condemned the property. So the family went to work tearing it down with their own hands.

It's now considered a hazard and they've got to find the funds to haul all of this away.

"We have to get it out of here now. So if I can get help with dumpsters, if they can take it away that would be the biggest help of all," George said.

George says with the help of the Justice Coalition Friday, they've been blessed with this one dumpster from Shapells.

But looking ahead to what she has versus what's needed, George says she's overwhelmed.

"My brother don't even have flowers for the top of the casket," said George.

First Coast News

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