Harold Dixon is digging through the remains of his burned house on Buffalo Road to try to find sentimental photos that were in his bedroom.
ARCHER’S LODGE -- A thud awoke 13-year-old Wesley Dixon early Monday morning when he rolled out of bed, and hit the floor. Immediately, he smelled smoke and saw fire.
"He’s usually a hard sleeper," said his mother, Sharon Dixon, of 13175 Buffalo Road, off of Covered Bridge Road. "It was angels that awoke him and pushed him out of bed."
When Wesley woke up, he ran to his parents room shouting, "Fire!" and alerted the other three children at home to run outside.
"By the time he said fire, it had climbed up the walls," said his mother. She and her husband rushed out of the house barefoot in the rain.
Fires have displaced five families this month in Johnston County. The most recent fire on Buffalo Road was caused by a problem with electrical wiring.
"It’s been an extremely busy month with fires, unfortunately," said Brian Womack, director of the Red Cross in Smithfield.
For the Dixon family, the fire has sparked a spirit of generosity in the community and many groups have provided clothing and funds already. One local dentist even donated the funds, nearly $1,000, to provide two sets of dentures to Sharon and Harold, who each had their dentures engulfed in flames.
"Everybody is really doing an outstanding job helping my family," said Harold Dixon, who works as a custodian at Riverwood Middle School. The school has set up a fund to collect donations for the family.
"It’s just amazing, the outpouring of love that has come from the people of Clayton," said Margaret Lee, president of the Clayton Woman’s Club. Women in the club quickly rallied behind the family, gathering clothes, and spreading the word to others to seek support.
There are five children in the Dixon family, including a 9-year-old girl, and four sons ages 10, 12, 16 and 26. Many people have donated clothing to the younger children already, but the 26-year-old has not received clothing donations yet.
The biggest need for them is finding a new home. There is nightly uncertainty about where they will sleep. The Dixons are looking for a home that is near their old home, close to Corinth Holders High School, where one of their children goes to school.
"I really want to be in a house by Christmas," said Sharon Dixon.
More fires this month
The fire on Buffalo Road is one of five fires this month that have displaced Johnston County families.
Barbara and Willie Newton had a grease fire in their kitchen that destroyed their home on December 18 on Stratus Lane. "Our clothes still smell like smoke," said Barbara Newton. Besides emergency shelter, the family has received no other donations. They are still trying to find a place to live. Like the Dixon family, their time at a hotel is running out, and where they will land next is uncertain. The Newton family has three grandchildren, and 17- and 19-year-old children.
Peggy Capps’ trailer in Four Oaks burned down December 13. She has 10 cats and four dogs she is looking to give away. She still needs clothes, and says she wears a five petite in pants, a size six in shoes, and a size small in tops. She can be reached at 919-351-1096.
Angela Zamudio lived in a doublewide with her five children at 222 West St.and the mobile home was completely destroyed in a fire December 11. She is still looking for a house.
A fire on December 1 ripped through the doublewide trailer where Elon and Jonah Smith lived with their five children on Barber Mill Road. The family lost everything. Local churches have helped the family to rehabilitate, but they are still in need of soap, laundry detergent, shampoos, and other household items.