A fire broke out Monday afternoon at an apartment complex at 500 West Main Street.
CLAYTON -- Yvonne Haynes was just putting her grandson down for a nap when she heard a crackling noise coming from the other side of the apartment.
At first, she thought it was someone trying to break in, until she discovered flames lapping through her daughter’s bedroom window. When she went back to get the baby and get out of the apartment, she could see that her daughter’s room was already engulfed in flames.
The Haynes family lost everything in the fire that left 12 people, including four children, displaced from their homes at 444 West Main Street.
“We just lost everything, but those are material things and they will be replaced over a period of time,” Haynes said. “I just thank God I got out safely.”
The 911 call came in at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, bringing about 50 firefighters from the Clayton Fire Department, Archer Lodge and Garner out to the scene. The flames collapsed the roofs of the two units closest to Main Street.
While authorities believe the fire started on a back deck near an upper level stair case, Fire Marshal Tony Atkinson, along with county and insurance investigators, officially listed the cause of the fire as accidental and “undetermined.”
No one was injured, but Haynes and her 10-month old grandson were transported to Johnston Medical Center to be evaluated for smoke inhalation. When Haynes’ husband got to the hospital from his job in Raleigh, he was admitted and treated for what might have been a mild heart attack. He was released from the hospital on Wednesday.
The family is currently staying at the Comfort Suites, where the Red Cross put everyone for at least two nights. Brian Womack, the branch director for the Red Cross in Johnston County, said they continue to work with each family and provide them more nights in a hotel or assistance finding a place to stay depending on their circumstances.
“It’s a case-by-case basis. I’ve put people in hotels for a month, but there were extenuating circumstances,” Womack said. “We’re basically a caseworker for them to help them get back on their feet, help them find the right avenues and doors and help them walk through those doors.”
For now, the Haynes family is just getting settled into the hotel after Johnny Haynes was released from the hospital.
“We’re just trying to get settled in a little bit to the hotel, and then we’ll have to start looking,” Yvonne Haynes said.
Beverly White and her husband Edward were also victims of the fire. On Tuesday afternoon, Beverly White and a couple of friends were going through her apartment to see what they could salvage. While the kitchen and everything in it was completely destroyed, a burned-out hole in the ceiling let sunlight into the first-floor apartment. White was able to salvage some clothing, family photographs, and her living room furniture.
She was cooking dinner for her husband for their 15th wedding anniversary when she heard something that alerted her to the fire. When she told her husband there was a fire, he thought she meant there was a small stove fire. It turned out to be much more than that.
White said it was ironic, because her pastor had just advised her to get renter’s insurance, but she hadn’t gotten around to it yet.
“I can guarantee you one thing, as soon as the Lord finds me somewhere else to stay, I’m buying renter’s insurance,” White said.
She said that while the whole experience has been emotional and stressful, she has to think positively or she won’t be able to move on.
“I shed a few tears, but that’s over now,” White said.
While the four families are in need of replacing much of what they lost, many are still evaluating what they need and where they could even put it.
Haynes said they couldn’t accept any donations beyond clothing and food since they’re staying in a hotel.
For now, people can donate to the Red Cross or get in touch with the town’s public information officer to donate goods.