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Family loses everything in fire

By Staff
ALL GONE Sandra Dean holds her daughter's burned teddy bear as she surveys the damage in one of her children's rooms Thursday. Dean's home at 808 Braxton Ave. was completely destroyed in a Wednesday fire. No one was home when the fire started. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael/The Meridian Star
Dec. 7, 2001
Sandra Dean spent much of Thursday afternoon fighting back tears as she sifted through what remained of her three bedroom house at 808 Braxton Ave.
Dean, a single mother, hurried out her front door about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday for work, like she always does. Only this time, she said, she returned an hour later to find her home engulfed in flames.
Responding to the fire
Meridian firefighters from nearby station No. 2 responded to the fire about 8:15 a.m. after noticing a lot of smoke coming from the house.
Battalion chief Tim Miller said the fire apparently started from a candle left burning in the bathroom. He said the fire quickly spread to the attic and eventually caused "extensive smoke damage to the entire house."
But Dean said she doesn't remember lighting a candle in the bathroom that morning.
She had lived in the rented house for five months and didn't have renter's insurance.
Bad timing
The fire happened at the worst possible time, Dean said  only weeks before Christmas.
Included in the destruction of the fire was more than $3,000 worth of new furniture and appliances Dean said she recently purchased.
The Meridian Fire Department paid for Dean and her four children to stay two nights at a local motel while they decide where to go next.
Dean works 30 hours a week at the new Wal-Mart SuperCenter and a few hours a week at Burlington Coat Factory.
Anyone wishing to offer assistance to the Dean family should call 693-2355.
Fredie Carmichael is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3228, or e-mail him at