Community rallies to help displaced mom

jmarks@lakewyliepilot.comDecember 23, 2013 

  • Want to help?

    T-Bones on the Lake is accepting donations for Natalie Perreault, and online giving is available at giveforward.com. Search “Natalie Perreault.”

— Natalie Perreault won’t be home for Christmas, following a house fire that took most everything she wasn’t holding at the time. But she will be among friends.

The 2263 Arabian Lane home in York caught fire about noon Dec. 11. Perreault and her 19-year-old daughter weren’t injured. Neither were pets. But little else made it out of the house.

“She was in the house at the time of the fire and got out unhurt, but with only the jeans, short-sleeved shirt and flip-flops she was wearing,” said friend Haven Presley. “She did have her phone, iPad and pets as well.”

Presley’s family owns T-Bones on the Lake. Perreault is a “very good, longtime regular,” Presley said. So the restaurant set up donation sites to help. Kodiak Mini Storage donated a truck and storage unit. Another friend offered the family a place to stay. Others helped get the car with a melted back window up and running so Perreault could get to and from work in Gastonia.

Perreault said she’s thankful for the generosity, even as she struggles to make sense of what happened or even what she still needs most.

“I don’t know,” she said last week. “I’m just confused. I’ve got the basic necessities.”

Perreault owned the home that burned, but it was not insured. She’d lived there almost four years. She isn’t sure whether she’ll rebuild there.

“I still own the land,” Perreault said. “I don’t know.”

Charles Williamson, fire inspector with the York County Department of Fire Safety, said last week an official cause of the fire wasn’t found.

Investigator Lou Jarvis on Friday on Friday said he knows where the fire started but not the cause.

“The exact cause is undetermined,” he said.

Friends are hoping to provide several ways for people to help. T-Bones has a listing of clothes and shoe sizes. There’s an online fund on giveforward.com that raised more than $1,000 in the first week. After the holidays, T-Bones likely will have a fundraiser, Presley said.

“She got out with what she was wearing,” Presley said. “We’ll take anything for her.”

John Marks •  803-831-8166

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