Veteran loses everything in Sylacauga house fire

SYLACAUGA, ALA. (WIAT) -- One Sylacauga military veteran is without a home after a string of fires this week.

Michael Tarpley said the fire started at a barn behind his home and spread to his main structure. Tarpley tells CBS 42 emergency crews rescued him from his couch before the flames got to the home.

"Thank God for it, I do not have anything, but they got me," Tarpley said. "If I laid there five more minutes I wouldn't be here."

Tarpley lost many necessities, including his electric wheelchair, in the blaze. The veteran is unable to use his right leg and needs the chair to get around.

"I want my wheelchair back, that old wheelchair is my lifeline, my contact the world," Tarpley said.

Michael's son Lavon bought his father the chair with his hard-earned money.

"He means the world to me," Lavon said of his father.

Tarpley told CBS42 that his special hospital bed, TV, clothes and more were all lost. Tarpley did not have insurance.

Some people in the community are helping Tarpley out, people like his friend Don Smith.

"He has a heart of gold, we bought him some clothes," Smith said.

Tarpley's son said they are collecting donations at Sylacauga Handicapped, Inc. during business hours located at 1304 Talladega Highway. For clothes, Tarpley wears a size 28 pants and a small shirt.


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