Heights woman loses everything after house fire

Photo courtesy of Jill Wilson The house of Dearborn Heights resident Jill Wilson in the 25600 block of Lehigh was destroyed from a fire in the early morning hours of July 19.

Photo courtesy of Jill Wilson
The house of Dearborn Heights resident Jill Wilson in the 25600 block of Lehigh was destroyed from a fire in the early morning hours of July 19.

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — A house fire and expired homeowner’s insurance has left Dearborn Heights resident Jill Wilson without a house as of July 19.

Wilson was sleeping the living room in the 25600 block of Lehigh when she woke up to crackling sounds coming from the wooden deck in the backyard.

“It was about 4:47 a.m. when I woke up to the cracking and flames outside on the air conditioner,” she said. “I called 911 and a neighbor also called the fire department.”

According to Fire Marshal Douglas Bailey, the department alarms went off at 4:51 a.m. and firefighters were at Wilson’s house at 4:55 a.m. when they began working on putting the fire out.

Fire Chief David Brogan said the bulk of the fire was under control, but that crews worked until 5:38 a.m. because of burning spots and hot spots.

A final cause of the fire has not been determined but it was possibly from a cigarette that was put out on the deck or from decorative lighting.

Wilson is left without a house as a result of the fire. The only room not fully damaged from the fire was the front bedroom.

“I have a newfound respect for firefighters,” she said. “I can’t imagine running into any fire voluntarily like they do on a daily basis.”

Wilson and her dog and cats are staying staying with her friend Monica Bottrell who lives nearby as she tries to raise money to rebuild.

“I’ve lived in the same house for 20 years and I don’t want to live anywhere else,” she said. “I love my house and I can’t even believe this happened to me.”

Wilson is on a fixed income and is not just looking for donations, but building supplies to help her build her house back up from the ashes.

“I’m praying to get donations to have house repaired because I love my neighborhood,” she said. “My mom lives two doors down and my friend lives nearby.”

She also planned to call her insurance company on July 19 to reinstate her expired homeowner’s insurance.

“I had a refund check from the insurance on the kitchen counter ready to call them,” Wilson said. “It wasn’t that I didn’t call on purpose but I missed my June payment and was outside the 30-day grace period.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Wilson for anyone interested in donating to the $10,000 goal. As of July 26, a total of $1,980 was donated by 34 people.

“I really have helped so many people and have had so many people stay with me over the years, but I don’t ever ask for anything in return,” Wilson said.

To donate go to www.gofundme.com/JillWilsonHouseFire.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)