THEODORE, Ala. (WKRG) — The aftermath of the house fire on Garden Grove Drive Wednesday night still smoldered 12 hours after the flames were put out.
The homeowner, Norman Touchstone, said, “I lost everything I ever had. I have nothing left.”
For Touchstone, it wasn’t just a house that he lost, it was a home that held his cherished memories.
“Dad and I put it together in ’58 and ’59. I moved in it in 1960,” he said.
The large fire was something Touchstone feared but hoped would never happen.
He said, “This house was made out of heart pine. And once it’s been, it’s so old that heart pine, once it lights off, you can’t hardly put it out.”
He said the fire started after his wife lit candles in a room at the front of the house.
“And she came back there to talk with me,” said Touchstone. “And then she’s seen the flames flickering on the trees. And by the time she got out there and I was able to get out there, it was too late.”
He continued, “I was able to get out. I fell down three times, but I crawled on out.”
Touchstone said after he fell the third time, a first responder helped save him by carrying him to safety.
Within just a few hours, the home Touchstone knew his whole life was gone.
He said, “I stood there as long as I could and watched the house burn to the ground.”
After Touchstone made it out, he couldn’t find his dog Ruppy.
He said, “I was concerned that he would not that he had panicked and got confused in the heat. And I was hollering for him and hollering for him and calling his name when he came up, nudge me on my leg, and he still had his leash on.”
Touchstone told WKRG News 5, his house insurance became too expensive to afford, so now he’s not sure what he’s going to do. But he thanks the first responders who salvaged what they could.
Touchstone said, “Thank God they was able to because Jerry’s fireworks here. They sell a lot of black powder in there. And the fireworks and. And I’m gracious that thank God it didn’t spread that way.”