BARNWELL, S.C. (WJBF) — A Barnwell County man has been living in the charred remains of his home following a fire last year.
“Only thing I saved was the clothes on my back,” said Alfred Smith.
NewsChannel 6 went inside that small living space.
“I drug me a sofa bed. I was sleeping here. Closed that door. Closed that one. Kept that one closed. I stayed warm. I got quilts,” he showed us.
There are no windows, electricity, or plumbing.
“See that little grill there had me a fry pan. I would cooked eggs, a little sausage, and I went to Walmart and bought water. That’s what I did. That’s how I lived,” he recalled.
The home he once shared with his mother. Because of her, he’s still there.
“How can you feel? Everything’s gone. Everything is gone, Shawn. Something my mother worked hard on her life for, you know, what can you say it’s gone,” he shared.
Now the cleanup effort is underway.
“This is some of this stuff I pulled out and throwed on this pile I was gonna burn up. But then the wind is blowing. You can’t burn nothing,” he said.
The community is coming together to support him.
“I’m not working. And the little bit of money I’m getting on social security was so little, so Ms. Peggy stepped in,” Smith said.
“Our goal is to try to help him get a little used mobile home. Aiken Barnell Community Action, they’ve already said they will have the water and the lights, you know, turned on,” Peggy Gatson Kirkland with South Carolina Regional Housing Authority 3 added.
He is temporarily staying at the Winton Inn hotel thanks to others’ generosity. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help.
“With God’s help and other people help, I’m going to try to get this tore down and put something back here,” he said.
You can drop off any donations at the hotel’s main office in Barnwell. He’s also looking for help with clearing his property.
The GoFundMe account can be found here.