Man loses everything in fire - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Man loses everything in fire

July 17, 2007

Terrell County--  It's a story of love and loss. Arthur and Erma Hunter were happily married for more than 50-years. Mr. Hunter outlived his wife and had her funeral just this week.

As he struggles to adjust to life without his companion, life dealt him another difficult blow Tuesday. The home the couple shared, a place where they made so many memories together, burned nearly to the ground.

It all happened late Tuesday afternoon. "I heard a loud boom," said Mary Ellen Harnage.

Smoke and loud noises filled the Terrell County neighborhood. "I went to the end of the driveway, there was another boom and I said that sounds like it's coming from Daddy's house," said Harnage.

Mary Ellen Harnage was one of the first to see her father's house in flames. "And there was another loud boom," said Harnage.

The booms and the smoky sights only adds to the family's sadness. "I could not believe that this had happened to Daddy because with Mama dying, we just buried her yesterday," said Harnage.

Arthur Hunter left his home on Jones Mills Road a short time before the fire started. Family consoled him as he came home to the sight of everything lost. Even with everything gone up in flames, his mind is on something or someone else.

"I don't care so much about my home as I do my wife. I lost her to cancer and what have you," said Hunter.

Hunter was married to his wife Erma for decades. "53 years," said Hunter.

More than 50 years of memories of her were also lost in the fire. "It's all gone I know," said Hunter. But Hunter says the flames can't take away the memories in his mind and heart.

"I'll remember. They told me I'd get over her after a while but ain't no way. I'll remember and worship her until the day I die," said Hunter.

For now, he'll try his best to pick up the pieces. "Now it's both of them and it's just kind of hard to bare," said Hunter. He's carrying the weight of a lost sweetheart and a lost home.

Mrs. Hunter's beloved beagle Lilly was also killed in the fire. Firefighters think the fire might have started from the air-conditioning unit in the front of the home.  

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