Fire destroys everything of Adams County home

Published 11:44 pm Monday, June 4, 2007

NATCHEZ — Mary Ann Guilliams stood in what used to be her kitchen Monday, sunlight pouring through beams above her head, all that was left of her roof.

“That’s where my refrigerator used to be,” she said, pointing at blue sky and trees through a gaping hole in the wall.

Everything in the Old Highway 84, No. 1, trailer is colorless, covered in a thick black coating of ash. A melted television sits in one corner.

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The only splashes of color are a patchwork quilt on the smoke-colored couch and a singed pink hatbox on the stoop.

A breeze blew through, picking up the smell of charcoal, all that is left of Guilliams’ belongings.

“I don’t think I’ll ever get the smell of smoke off me,” she said.

A fire burned the trailer to cinders Thursday after lightning struck a small storage shed close to the house, she said.

“I was inside and heard a loud boom,” Guilliams said. “At first, I thought it hit a transformer. I smelled smoke and thought, ‘It must be an outlet. I can handle that.’ Then, I opened the door to (the shed), and it was a full-blown inferno.”

Flames soon engulfed the shed and trailer and everything inside.

The worst part was losing her companion, her cat, she said.

“The firefighters wouldn’t let me go back in the house and get Ms. Muff,” she said. “They brought her out. Her body was whole, but they said she died of smoke inhalation.”

The 17-year-old black cat was like a child to her, Guilliams said. It was a comfort to her when her husband died in 2000.

“She was like a child,” she said. “Every Christmas, I’d get her something. And at Valentine’s Day, she was my valentine.”

For now, Guilliams is staying with her mother, who lives next door and owned the trailer.

“Nothing is salvageable,” she said. “I got out with just the clothes on my back, and that was it.”

Guilliams said she wasn’t sure where she would go or what she would do now.

“I don’t know,” she said. “I have nothing.”

If anyone wants to help in any way, she said, they should call her mother, Mabel H. Ellington, at 601-446-9693.