• Firefighters return to help rebuild home destroyed in fire

    By: Natalie Pasquarella


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - More than a year after a fire damaged a home, firefighters who responded to the blaze returned to help rebuild it.

    On Wednesday, Channel 9 talked of the first responders about how important it was to them to make the house a new home for a Charlotte family.

    It was a day of heavy lifting for the Habitat for Humanity volunteers in northwest Charlotte.

    They worked to rebuild the home on Opal Street as the homeowner remembered the call he got from his wife.

    “My wife called me and told me the house was on fire,” said James Jones. “I said, ‘OK,.’ I didn’t believe it.”

    Channel 9 covered the fire at Jones’ home in March of 2013 as crews worked to stop the smoke and flames.

    “It kind of shocked me, threw me for a loop. I figured I lost everyone I had,” Jones said.

    Firefighter Ryan Albini remembers the day just as clear as he was the first one into the home.

    “I remember coming out, there was heavy smoke in the house there was fire in the one wall,” Albini said.

    Charlotte firefighters, the Fire Prevention Foundation and Habitat worked to help make this home livable again.

    “To be able to see how it gets rebuilt and to be able to work on something that we were here for the bad part of it, especially with the homeowners out here and be able to see him have a good day instead of a bad day,” Albini said.

    While it’s been special for firefighters to see this happy ending, Jones said he is overwhelmed with all the help.

    “It feels good, it really feels good,” Jones said.

    He, his wife and two boys have been renting a home since the fire. His home should be ready in the next six weeks.

    "I never would've figured all of them would chip in and help like that, but they did and I'm going to thank them from the bottom of my heart," Jones said.

    Jones said he was so moved by the generosity that he would like to volunteer with Habitat once he retires.

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