Grandmother loses everything in Christmas fire
CHATTANOOGA, TN. (WRCB) -- A fire darkened Christmas for one Chattanooga woman. Beverly Lovelady's house burned Christmas morning, then the city bulldozed what was left of it that afternoon.
City inspectors deemed the structure unsafe and the homeowner wasn't even able to go inside before her home turned to rubble.
"My whole life's right there," Lovelady says through tears as she looks at her destroyed home. "25 years of memories are gone."
While the rest of us were opening Christmas gifts Beverly Lovelady watched her house burn down.
"It was dangerous for it to be left standing," she says. "So they bulldozed the rest of my house down."
The 911 call came in around 6:00 a.m. not long after Lovelady left for work.
"When I got to work they called and told me my house was burning," she says. Lovelady immediately came home but by then the house was fully engulfed.
For safety reasons firefighters wouldn't allow her to go inside before Public Works crews razed what the fire didn't destroy.
"My pictures and things that my kids gave me," she says. "The little things, like their hand prints, I'll never get that back."
Those are the keepsakes even insurance can't replace. No one's sure how the fire started.
"My kids still have a mom," she says. "That's their Christmas present I guess."
She says her family, especially her grand kids, are helping her focus on the positive.
"My 11-year-old grandson has been looking on the bright side," Lovelady says. "He said, 'Nana we don't have a house but we still have property'."
But when you spend 25 years building a life only to lose it all in an instant, staying positive is hard to do.
"I'm grateful no one was hurt," she says. "It's still hard."
The Red Cross is assisting Beverly Lovelady with credit cards and hotel vouchers.
If there's a bright side, it's that she does have insurance. She's staying with family until temporary living arrangements can be made.
Family members have set up a fund for Beverly Lovelady.
You can make a donation under 'Beverly Lovelady Fund' at Suntrust Bank.