Man laid off during COVID-19 pandemic loses home in fire

VIDEO: Man laid off, loses home in house fire

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - An Orangeburg man who was laid off from his job during the COVID-19 pandemic lost his home in a fire four days later.

James and Debbie Green say they lost everything they owned in the May 5 blaze.

The Greens say they were asleep in a back bedroom when they were awakened by an alarm.

“We rolled over and we saw orange flames so we both jumped up, and [James] jumped up and grabbed a trash can and he got the fire out in the laundry room,” Debbie Green said.

The Greens say the fire department came out and told them it was safe to go back inside the mobile home.

The couple decided to go back to sleep in a different bedroom.

“We just had dozed off and the alarm went off again,” Debbie Green said. “We literally jumped up and all we could see was yellow smoke coming through the vents. We could not even see to get out.”

Somehow the Greens got through the smoke and flames and escaped only with the clothes on their backs.

“It’s scary. It was scary to think that if we went back to this back bedroom we would not be here talking to you,” Debbie Green said. “The fire marshal told us, ‘Ya’ll should have been dead with the smoke. Ya’ll should have been dead.’"

Late Friday morning, James Green got some good news. His manager sent him a text that said he’s being called back to work on Tuesday.

Even after losing so much, the Greens are glad to be alive.

“Our lives are more important, and I thank God every day, every day. Because we could have been gone.”

The Orangeburg fire marshal says the cause of the two fires is still under investigation.

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