CUMBERLAND — A South Cumberland home destroyed by fire last July was given a second chance recently after the owner decided he wanted to remain a part of the neighborhood and had his house rebuilt.
Located at 223 Massachusetts Ave., the home, owned by Darrell Lee Powell, was destroyed by an electrical fire while he and his family were out of town.
An emotional Powell described what he saw upon returning the day of the fire.
“When we came home, we could see the house from the top of the hill and it really hit us,” said Powell.
Powell said they drove down to the site and took a closer look.
“I didn’t know what to think. You could tell everything was gone except the clothes on your back. It was devastating,” said Powell.
According to a Times-News article on the fire the next day, just the contents of the home were estimated to be $30,000 by Cumberland Fire Marshal Lt. Shannon Adams.
Powell, instead of walking away, decided he would use the insurance funds he had through State Farm to rebuild the home.
“I like the neighborhood and I liked the brick. I never thought about leaving, never once,” said Powell.
The home is brick on the first floor with a wood frame second floor.
After conferring with Powell, a city employee, Cumberland Mayor Brian Grim decided to help celebrate Powell’s decision to stay and rebuild in the neighborhood by holding a reception at the house Wednesday to display the newly completed home.
Through State Farm, Powell selected First General Services to rebuild his home. Powell was able to move in on March 14.
“Darrell is a classic case of wanting to contribute to the South Cumberland neighborhood and he is a perfect example of what makes this a great place to live,” said Grim.
Bob Beachy, owner of First General, and Joe Simpson, a project manger with the contractor, attended the reception.
“It (Powell’s decision) maintained a dwelling in the neighborhood that would have otherwise been gone,” said Beachy.
Beachy said that keeping a home on the street is good for the city tax base and its good for the neighborhood because the property is in better condition than it was before.
“The difference to me between this being a successful project or being a blighted property is a responsible owner,” said Grim.
Powell said he was very thankful for the support he received after the fire.
“The neighbors and people in the community were great with donations and well-wishes,” said Powell.
Powell also thanked First General Services.
“From the office, to the guys who did the work, they were phenomenal,” said Powell.
Powell has become a firm believer in insurance.
“I couldn’t have done without it. State Farm put us in a hotel and then a rental property. I am happy with what they have done and continue to do,” said Powell.
He said the home could have been finished sooner if not for bad weather.
“It took us about four months to finish it. That was pretty good considering the winter we had,” said Simpson.
Simpson said that some improvements were made to the house as well. He said the original home had just two bedrooms on the second floor.
“We had Foxcraft (Homebuilders) redesign the second floor for Mr. Powell. It has three bedrooms and two baths now,” said Simpson.
Greg Larry can be contacted at email@example.com.