COLUMBIA, S.C. (W.A.C.H.) -- COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) -- A July Fourth tragedy in Columbia is a sobering reminder about the dangers of fireworks. It's what officials say are behind a fire that ripped through a home late Wednesday night. But, that's only one part of a heartbreaking story. The good news is Sharon Patterson, who lives there, wasn't hurt in the fire, but she's lost something near and dear to her heart.
Patterson's home was built by Habitat for Humanity 17 years ago, which is a nonprofit that helps families in need of affordable housing. She was four years away from paying off her mortgage. But Patterson had no idea she'd be leaving for her third shift job only to return an hour later to her home in flames. She got the news after neighbors saw the fire and contacted her the quickest way they knew how--Facebook.
"When I came down my street, fire trucks. Then I panicked. Things started burning and got out of control," said Patterson. "I had some wicker furniture on my porch. It ignited and went from there."
The flames spread all the way to the attic, causing up to $40 thousand in damage. Investigators blame fireworks. Patterson calls this "careless"
"To me, if you send something off and don't know where it's going...but if you see something go off and know where it landed when it popped...it's different," said Patterson.
She called the house her pride and joy. But despite the damage, Patterson says her home can be fixed, and she's still counting her blessings.
"It's a special house for me because I had purchased this house with Habitat and I had to do my own work building it, put in hours. I had to paint, put in flooring, everything," said Patterson.
"I think I wanna rebuild. I'm satisfied with where I'm located because things can happen anywhere. I would like to thank the village around me because it could have been worse," said Patterson.
Patterson has a son serving in the navy. He's expected to return home in the coming days after a year away from home.