House fire victim recovering

Published 9:26 am Friday, January 18, 2013

Dena Chandler

On Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, Dena Chandler’s whole world changed, and she’s still trying to recover from that traumatizing event.

The 42-year-old Chandler was asleep in her home at 3057 East River Road, about 4.5 miles northeast of Bainbridge city limits, when she was awakened by intense heat and the smell of smoke.

“When I woke up, the walls and the ceiling were completely on fire,” Chandler said. “I ran through the living room to try and exit, and it was also on fire. The fire chief said he’s amazed I was able to get out of it alive.”

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Chandler went back into the house to get her pet cat, and then tripped on some stairs while escaping the home. She said that almost immediately after she got out of the house, the “whole building went down.”

“The windows blew out and it looked like a bomb went off, literally minutes after I got out,” she said.

Chandler said she took her cat to Dr. Cliff Bailey, a local veterinarian, and he was able to improve the pet’s health. However, she left the cat with a family friend and the traumatized animal was apparently scared of the unfamiliar setting and eventually ran away. She hasn’t been able to find him since.

“It’s just been really hard,” she said. “I hope I can find my ‘Tinker Bell.’”

While Chandler said she was appreciative of the help of the Salvation Army and other agencies, she still has had a hard time recovering from the fire. She has been living in a boarding house, and has had to have several surgeries to repair an injury to her leg.

Chandler said that a local church has donated money to help pay for the surgeries.

“I really appreciate the kindness that everyone has shown,” she said. “Right now, I think the hardest thing is just finding a place to live.”

Those who wish to talk to Chandler about the situation can call her at (229) 515-7041.