Work begins on rebuilding Queenstown resident's destroyed home


After fire destroyed 82-year-old Mamie Parker's Queenstown home, volunteers sprang into action, saying they'd try to build her a new one.

Before a new house could be built, however, the ruins of the old one had to be razed and removed. But Mrs. Parker could not afford it.

On Saturday, two local companies came to the rescue.

Annapolis-based Norman T. Cully Excavating Co. donated its services to pull the house down and K&K; Trash Removal hauled away the debris.

Severn resident Richard Thompson, who helped coordinate the effort, said these two jobs alone would have cost about $7,000.

"This was my first priority right from the beginning -- to get this thing down," Mr. Thompson said while watching Karle Cully crush the wooden shell with a front-end loader.

"That's 65 years of Mrs. Parker's memories."

Mr. Thompson and his colleague Joe Sutherland, who are organizing the effort to build Mrs. Parker a new house, started contacting local companies three weeks ago to see if they could help.

Mr. Thompson said he has been overwhelmed by the response.

"We've gotten a lot of calls," he said, after stories ran in local newspapers about the fire.

"People have offered to do a lot. But there's a lot more to do."

In past weeks, Mr. Thompson has received offers of furniture and appliances, as well as offers from an electrical contractor and carpet installer for their services once a house is up.

Volunteers still are seeking bedroom and living room furniture, lamps, small appliances, a clothes dryer and other items.

Mrs. Parker, who gets by on social security benefits, lost everything she owned in the fire.

She had no fire insurance and has been living with various relatives since the house was destroyed June 24.

Saturday morning, her two sons, Anthony and Al Smith, watched as their childhood home was bulldozed in just 25 minutes and put into trash bins.

Al Smith, 43, said he was born in an upstairs bedroom in 1949 and lived there for 22 years.

"I'm just glad no one got hurt," he said. "That's one thing we got to be thankful for."

According to relatives, the eight-room wooden farmhouse, which has been in the family for more than 90 years, caught fire when a wood-burning stove malfunctioned.

Mrs. Parker said she would love to move back into a home of her own, adding that she now feels like she's living "all cooped up."

Her Queenstown home was located on 4 1/2 acres that she strolled often.

Mr. Thompson and Mr. Sutherland, who work at the Glen Burnie Post Office, learned about Mrs. Parker's predicament through her daughter, Lavinia Smith, who also works at the post office.

"We just want to do what we can to help another human being," said Mr. Sutherland, explaining why they got involved with the project.

Both men said they hope to have some sort of house built before the cold weather sets in.

So far, however, they have had no luck attracting a builder willing to donate services or supplies.

But they plan to keep making inquiries until they find someone.

Post office employees have also established a fund for Mrs. Parker for cash donations.

These donations can be made to: Mrs. Mamie Parker, c/o The Bank of Glen Burnie, P.O. Box 70, Glen Burnie, Md. 21060.

Individuals interested in donating building materials, furniture and housewares, or their time can call Mr. Thompson at 551-7239 or Mr. Sutherland at 255-5210.

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