Fire victim homeless, upset

Published 1:21 am Saturday, October 13, 2007

NATCHEZ — One week ago Delores Marvel’s apartment was destroyed in a fire. Since then Marvel has moved in with her daughter, and says she has been lost in bureaucratic shuffle between the Natchez Housing Authority and the owners of the apartment complex.

“They treat me like I have a dreadful disease,” Marvel said. “And I was so proud of that apartment.”

Kenneth Windham, owner of Windham Construction in Baldwyn, is the owner of Carpenter Apartments.

Email newsletter signup

On Thursday, Windham said when he renovated the apartments in 2001 the building was completely rewired. Natchez building inspector, Paul Dawes, verified that the building was rewired and inspected during its renovation.

However last Friday’s fire originated in Marvel’s apartment. And according to Chief Paul Johnson of the Natchez Fire Department the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction in a light fixture.

Marvel’s son, Bryan, lived with Marvel and said their unit did have electrical problems.

“Some of the wall sockets did not work, the place needed attention,” Bryan Marvel said.

Bryan Marvel also said the refrigerator was hooked up to an extension cord because its original socket no longer worked.

But Delores Marvel doesn’t care about electrical problems or extension cords.

She needs a place to live.

Marvel said Natchez Housing Authority told her on Thursday she would be relocated into another unit in the Carpenter building.

Later that day she was told by a representative from Windham Construction that the unit would need to be brought up to code and a room would not be ready for 2-3 weeks. On Friday no one at Windham would comment as to what exactly needed to be brought up to code.

“I just need a place to live,” Marvel said. “I am in very poor health.”

Marvel said she suffers from back problems, anxiety and depression. She requires five daily medications.

“They won’t even let me in there to see what I can save,” she said.

Marvel and her son also said they have had a very difficult time finding any assistance since the fire. Until one kind-hearted citizen intervened.

Jimmy Porterfield, Bryan Marvel’s co-worker, has been assisting the Marvel’s.

“Jimmy Porterfield has been a great help to my family,” Bryan Marvel said. “He stepped up to the plate when no one else did.”

“They didn’t even have socks or a pair of drawers,” Porterfield said.

Porterfield bought Bryan and his mother new clothes and toiletries.