Which fact gets Amanda Hogan more emotional probably depends on when she’s asked. They go together anyway – that Hogan no longer has a home, but hasn’t lost her hometown.
“I’m so proud to be from Fort Mill,” said Hogan, whose Tega Cay home caught fire Jan. 16. “This is my hometown. People here still have a small-town, take-care-of-each-other attitude.”
Hogan, along with husband Jody Robinson, lived at the home on Marquesas Avenue with three children ages 17, 13 and 11. The children were home when a candle started the fire. No humans were injured, though some aquarium pets and a cat were killed. The fire also left the family without a plan for the coming months.
“For all intents and purposes, we’re homeless at the moment,” Hogan said Monday morning.
Hogan’s mother owns the home, which will be rebuilt. The family is staying with Robinson’s mother in Mount Holly, N.C., though the children are staying with a friend in Fort Mill on school nights. While the home was insured, Hogan said her family didn’t have nearly the coverage needed to replace what they lost.
They do have clothes and food, due largely to donations.
“It’s the potholders, the shower curtains, the window curtains – the things that make a house a home,” Hogan said.
Hogan and her husband work for the same automotive company in south Charlotte. They returned to work about a week ago. They spend their time planning for the coming days and advocating for others to keep up with whatever insurance it takes to prevent opportunity for losing so much. All the insurance in the world, though, couldn’t replace everything, she said.
“You don’t think about the Christmas decorations in the attic, all the pictures and the accumulation of years,” Hogan said.
Solace comes, for the family, in knowing they aren’t alone. Tri-County Neighbors Helping Neighbors began about 15 years ago, originally as Tega Cay Neighbors Helping Neighbors. So the group was familiar with its task when they found out about the Marquesas Avenue fire.
“You need to know you’re not alone,” said Diane Woods, vice president of community relations with the nonprofit. “You don’t have to worry about having a toothbrush.”
Neighbors Helping Neighbors kicked into action the day of the fire. A fund was set up at Yadkin Bank on Gold Hill Road. The group loaned essential and larger items to the family. They collected for gas and grocery gift cards.
The plan is to have a home ready soon, in Tega Cay, where the family can stay for a year while insurance issues work out and the family is back on its feet. It’s important to be as close to home as possible, so children aren’t changing schools and losing friends, Woods said.
“We will do all we can to make sure they’re whole again,” said Woods, whose group has raised more than $500,000 for similar needs since it began more than a decade ago. “It won’t happen overnight.”
The family also has a gofundme.org site, which had almost $2,400 raised as of Monday morning. Hogan said people she hasn’t spoken with since high school have reached out to her in help. The response has been overwhelming for her husband, who isn’t from the area. They hope to move into a rental this month.
Recent days have been “confusing and complicated and chaotic,” Hogan said. From books to video games, the family lost more than she ever thought about being in a house at a given time. But they haven’t lost hope, thanks largely to the support they’ve received.
“When you go through something like this, it makes a difference,” Hogan said.