BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- A Brunswick County man was just trying to keep warm last night. Now he has no place to call home.
Junior Wheeler has no place to stay tonight. His home on Dove Haven Road in Winnabow caught fire Tuesday around 1 a.m. leaving memories still smoking hours later.
"Everything. I just lost everything," Wheeler said.
Wheeler said there isn't much he remembers of the event; just that it all happened quickly.
"I was trying to build a fire in the stove, and the kerosene exploded on me," he said. "(It) caught the carpet on fire, and I tried to put the fire out and throw some cats out of the house and try to get help."
Wheeler went back into the house after saving his pets to try and stop the fire from spreading. He went to the hospital with minor injuries, but he says all he could think about was getting back to check out the damage.
"They said I had cracked ribs, a cracked vertebrae in my neck, a cracked hip and stuff," he said. "They wanted me to stay, but I told them I know I need to come home cause i want to take care of what i had at home, see what happened."
Wheeler said he thinks he has insurance to cover the damage, but he is still trying to figure out exactly what his policy covers. Of everything he lost, he says there are some things that cannot be replaced, insurance or not.
"Family pictures. That's the most important thing," Wheeler said.
With the new year approaching, Wheeler hopes the beginning of 2011 will bring good news. Until then, he is just figuring out what he will do next.
"Right now, I don't know," he said. "I'm just trying to picture everything and take it one step at a time."
Wheeler lost everything, including the keys to his car, which melted inside the burning home. He says he appreciates all the help from his friends and neighbors.