Couple needs help after losing mobile home to fire

Updated: Feb. 8, 2018 at 8:11 PM EST
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Gilbert Adkins and Elnora Sargeant (Source: NBC12)
Gilbert Adkins and Elnora Sargeant (Source: NBC12)

CHARLES CITY, VA (WWBT) - Eighty years old and homeless. An elderly Charles City couple loses their home in a fire. Their medications, walkers, medical equipment, furniture and appliances were all destroyed.

Elnora Sargeant and Gilbert Adkins are starting over with only the clothes on their backs, and they say it's rough.

A group of real estate agents from various companies set up a GoFundMe page to help Elnora and Gilbert. So far, donations are around $3,700.  Much more is needed to reach the goal of purchasing a trailer for the elderly couple.

A motel room is the couple's temporary home for as long as donations last.

"I don't have a place to go. I don't know what to do," said Sargeant.

The Red Cross provided accommodations for two days after the recent fire. When that expired, local realtors and Emanuel Restoration Church extended their hotel stay and gave them items to meet their immediate needs.

"It's rough. It's a rough time," said Sargeant.

Adkins says faulty wiring in a hot water tank sparked the fire, which spread quickly, burning everything throughout the trailer. He was there when it happened.

"The room she sleeps in, the blaze was that high," said Adkins, with his hand above head level. "I had a jug of water I was going to poor on it, but the fire took my breath. I had to run out of there. You couldn't save nothing with that fire coming."

Nona Mason, pastor and caregiver with Blessed Hands and Heart, is their anchor and has been over the years.

"I called Social Services to see if they would have any help beyond what the Red Cross provided," said Pastor Mason. "I was told there are no resources for them."

Sargeant has schizophrenia, hypertension, and rheumatoid arthritis. Neither gets around well. Pastor Mason is getting their medicines and other necessities, but getting them a mobile home - new or used - seems out of reach right now.

"I know it's a lot, and I know that it's a big ask, but I know people have big hearts and people do respond, so I'm hoping that there's that somebody out there who has a big enough heart to say 'we want to help these people,'" said Pastor Mason.

The couple did not have insurance on their trailer home.

"I don't know what to do. I can't work. I'm 84 years old. I can't work, but I'll try to work if they give me a job. I'll try to work to help myself," said Sargeant.

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