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Safety: Fire leaves woman, 99, homeless, but thankful

By Jackie R. Broach
Coastal Observer

Mildred Point lost her home to a fire last weekend, but sitting in a hospital bed on Tuesday, the 99-year-old said she feels blessed and thankful.

Though her house at 39 Page Lane in the Parkersville community was destroyed, she got out unharmed, her two cats are safe and friends are working on getting her a new place to live. Things could be much worse.

“If I hadn’t gotten up early, I would have laid right there until the fire got me,” Point said. She planned to attend a meeting on Saturday at 10 a.m., but the woman driving her had to get there early to help set up.

As a result, Point was up and dressed, and had already let her pets out, when she heard the alarm signaling something was wrong. “I saw the heater was a red blaze and knew it was time to get out,” she said.

She credits God with her escape. “I’m a blessed woman. I’m still kicking,” she added, grinning and kicking her pink slipper-clad feet to demonstrate.

The fire started at around 8:50 a.m. Saturday and the kitchen was already in flames when firefighters arrived, said Bob Beebe, a spokesman for Midway Fire and Rescue. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

A firefighter from another department who was in the area saw the fire and called it in before going to help. It took about an hour for firefighters to put the blaze out. In that time, many neighbors also came to see if they could do anything to help Point.

“She was so appreciative of us being there and so thankful her cats were OK,” Beebe said.

The cats, Jill and Jean, are “my babies,” Point said. “They almost fight to see who’s going to sleep on my head or my arm at night.”

Midway was also able to salvage some of Point’s photos from the house.

Point wasn’t injured in the fire, but she was taken to Waccamaw Community Hospital for evaluation.

“At first she didn’t want to go, but they talked her into it. From what I gather, she was pretty feisty about it,” Beebe said. He went to see her in the hospital later and said he couldn’t believe Point was 99. She seemed a good 30 years younger to him.

Point was turned out for company in a pink nightgown and not a hair out of place on Tuesday. She had a constant stream of visitors during her hospitalization.

“I didn’t realize that many people cared for me,” she said. “People I haven’t seen for years came by.” With all the attention, she said she feels like she has had her funeral, only she was alive to enjoy it.

Point said she’s feeling fine and was still in the hospital only because she didn’t have another place to go. A friend who handles her affairs is working on getting her into a unit at St. Elizabeth Place and Point hopes to move in sometime this week.

She hasn’t had a chance to survey the remains of her home, she said, but she also hopes she can salvage at least her bedroom suite and a few special items to take with her.

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