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Yuma family loses everything in apartment fire

February 25th, 2007 11:21 pm by CLIFFORD JEFFERY

YUMA - Eleven-year-old Daniel Bolling wasn't hurt in the Thursday morning fire that destroyed the apartment he and his mother called home, but they were left on the front lawn at 2 a.m. with no home and no possessions other than the pajamas they'd worn to bed.

They lost everything, said Daniel's maternal grandmother, Sue Burton.

Daniel returned to school at Yuma Elementary Friday, where his friends in the fifth grade had a lot of questions and staff members had some new clothes for him.

Debra Bolling woke her son, Daniel, about 2 a.m. Thursday.

"At first she thought it was the alarm clock," Daniel said.

When she realized the apartment was filled with smoke, she woke up her son.

"When I woke up, everything was black. It was so black and dark in the house. I looked in the living room and saw the fire. The first thing I thought about was Daniel," Bolling said.

There was mostly just smoke until Daniel opened the kitchen door.

When he opened the kitchen door, flames erupted throughout the apartment, Burton said. The mother, her son and several others in the building escaped the fire. At least one man was hospitalized with injuries.

Daniel woke one neighbor who was asleep.

"That apartment was also on fire," he said.

Firefighters worked to extinguish the flames, but Daniel lost all his clothes and toys.

He was most disappointed to have lost his books. They were books about dragons, dinosaurs and King Kong, he said.

School counselor Andrea Lawson and school nurse Debbie Miller took up a collection from staff and students to help Daniel and his mother.

"It was great fun shopping for him," Lawson said. "We got some great deals."

Daniel stood patiently in the nurse's office at Yuma Elementary School on Friday as Lawson and Miller tried shirts, shoes and a new coat on him.

Miller and Lawson said Daniel has plenty of clothes now, but he doesn't have any toys.

"He even lost his father's things," Burton said of her grandson.

Daniel's father died several years ago, and Daniel lost some personal things that his father had given him.

Now Daniel and his mother are living with Burton in her Hiltons home. Bolling suffers from diabetes and requires dialysis three times a week.

She has to have a ride there now, Burton said. Although she has a car, the keys to it were lost in the fire.

"The dealership says she has to have proof of ownership and a picture ID to get a key made. But that stuff is all gone too," Burton said.

Bolling has had diabetes since she was 11 years old, Burton said. Now, what she really needs is a kidney transplant.

"She also needs some dental work," Burton said of her daughter.

"I'm a juvenile diabetic and my vision is bad and my glasses melted. My pocketbook, everything is gone," Bolling said.

Bolling said she bought some over-the-counter reading glasses, but she lost her large-print Bible in the fire.

"That was my lifeline," she said of the book. "Daniel's daddy's Bible is gone too. His daddy left that for him. That is something that can't be replaced."

Donations to the Bolling family can be made by calling Lawson or Miller at Yuma Elementary School at (276)386-3109.

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