Community rallies to help family after devastating fire - | WBTV Charlotte

Community rallies to help family after devastating fire

SPENCER - It was a devastating house fire that took the home, and just about everything a family in Spencer owned. Now the community is coming together to help Melvin Gladden and his family, and Gladden says he actually has a lot to be thankful for.

There's a smile, a sparkle in the eye, maybe not what you'd expect to see today from Melvin Gladden.

"It's a sense of stillness," Gladden told WBTV. "I feel calm, it's like, it's hard to explain, I know it's God, you know what I mean? It's overwhelming to me."

Calm in the face of the storm. Two weeks ago Melvin's wife Jessica died unexpectedly, on Thursday the home he owned and shared with his mother, daughter, and sister, went up in a fast moving fire, destroying the house, a car, a motorcycle, and nearly everything inside.

"In anything bad that happens in your life, my grandmother told me this, in anything bad happens in your life, you can always see some good in it, you might not see it at the time because you're angry or whatever the case may be, but there's always something good in it," Gladden added.

What good can come from this?

"That's when I just wanted to jump in and help," said Melvin's high school classmate Sarah Thompson. "Melvin is a great guy and would give you the shirt off his back, he's always been a real good person, real giving..."

Thompson is a hairdresser in Spencer and friend of the family, and she's turned the beauty shop in downtown Spencer into the donation point for those who want to help.

For Melvin, this display of goodness is more overwhelming than the tremendous sense of loss he's facing, and he says, life's too short to dwell on disaster.

"We're on this earth only for a limited amount of time, you know you got to enjoy the time you're here you can't let nothing like this get you down," Gladden said.

If you'd like to help the Gladden family, donations are being accepted at the Spencer Beauty and Barber Shop, 512 S. Salisbury Ave. in Spencer. Donations can be dropped off between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Clothing needed includes men's pants size 38, men's shirts size extra large, women's pants sizes 10 and 12 and women's shirts size medium and large.

To learn more about donating to the Gladden family, call Thompson at 704-603-4550.

In addition to the support from the community, Gladden says he's encouraged by one other thing; his dog may have made it out of the fire. Cinnamon the boxer was thought to have died in the fire, but on Friday Gladden said he wasn't positive that the dig didn't make it out of the house. He says Cinnamon's cage was opened and she hasn't been found.

"I can hold out that hope until we found out something different," Gladden added.

The fire that ravaged the 102 year old house was caused by "poorly discarded smoking material," according to the Rowan County Fire Marshal's Office.

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