DEARING -- A woman and her four children no longer have a place to call home after fire destroyed their single-wide mobile home Saturday afternoon.
Two of Clara Denise Paschal's children, Devon Hampton, 17, and, Jon Aldree, 3, escaped first without being injured. Her older son called 911 to report the blaze from a neighbor's home.
Ms. Paschal, a cashier at Long John Silvers in Thomson, said she and her family lost everything they owned. She had no fire insurance and now is having to live with relatives until she can find another home for herself and her children. Ms. Paschal said she had lived at 3273 Iron Stones Road, off Hobbs Mill Road, since 1993.
"I was lying on the sofa dozing," recalled Devon. "My little brother was watching cartoons on television. I started smelling smoke and I got up. I could see a little smoke coming from the kitchen."
Devon, a junior at Sand Hills School in Thomson, said he grabbed his little brother and ran out of the house. He explained he first went to a neighbor's house to use the telephone, but no one was home. He ended up having to cross the dirt road to another neighbor's home where he used the telephone to report the fire to a 911 dispatcher.
The teenager, who tried to comfort his distraught mother at the scene of the fire, shortly after 2 p.m., said he wasn't cooking anything on the stove at the time of the fire. Ms. Paschal left her home around 1 p.m. to pick up her payroll check from work. She has worked at the seafood eatery for about two years.
When firefighters arrived, they discovered heavy flames coming from the central portion of the home, according to McDuffie County Fire/Rescue Services Assistant Chief Stephen Sewell. The fire remains under investigation.