Mother, daughter adjust to adversity
By Eric Heyl
Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Cheryl Pulford recently became acquainted with an alarming number of insurance adjusters.
A run of misfortune began last month, when Pulford, 52, and her daughter Madison, 17, returned to their home on May Avenue in Bridgeville after a Presidents' Day lunch. The 2003 Chevy Impala that had served Pulford for 146,000 miles was about to abruptly retire.
“I smelled something funny, like a burning wire,” Pulford said. “So I went down to the garage, where the smell was coming from. I opened the door and I got hit with a ton of black smoke. It was terrifying.”
Pulford and Madison safely evacuated and called 911. Firefighters responded quickly, but not before the garage and laundry room were extensively damaged, and a downstairs family room was covered in black soot.
Their residence rendered temporarily uninhabitable, the pair rented a nearby apartment and began discussions with adjusters while adjusting to their relatively cramped confines. Proving she maintains a sense of humor, Pulford recalled conversations about a replacement vehicle going thusly: “I asked the insurance company, ‘Can you tell me what kind of car won't blow up on me?' ”
It took nearly a month to sort out insurance issues and bring in a restoration crew. After the crew's first day on the job, Pulford and Madison were relaxing at the apartment when the phone rang.
“It was Peggy, my next-door neighbor of 20-some years. She goes, ‘Honey, I hate to tell you this, but your house is on fire again,' ” Pulford said. “I said, ‘Peg, this is a really bad joke.' ”
Unfortunately and implausibly, Peg hadn't called with humorous intent.
“When we got there, four fire companies were already there,” Pulford said. “The window in Maddy's room had popped out. It was terrible.”
The second fire began in Madison's room, located above the garage being restored. Most of her possessions were destroyed, as were the room's antique furniture and irreplaceable programs from shows she performed in as a student at the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School in Midland.
Pulford, an accountant, said Tuesday she hadn't heard from the Allegheny County Fire Marshal's Office on the official cause of either fire. She had heard from the adjusters.
“I had to start a new claim, so I have four new ones,” she said. “Plus, they've called back some of the old ones. I think I have nine people working on this at the moment.”
Madison, meanwhile, is working with the uncertainty of when she can return to the home where she has lived her entire life.
“It's been difficult,” she said. “But I have faith it'll get better.”
Pulford would like to believe that as well. But after two fires, it's difficult to blame her for wondering what calamity might come next.
“Listen,” she said. “If the house starts burning again, don't even call me at that point.”
Eric Heyl is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7857 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Fuel spill discovered on Loyalhanna Creek
- Robert Morris advances to NEC title game
- Spring training breakdown: Pirates 10, Rays 5
- Penguins notebook: Maatta leaves lasting impression with Selanne
- Democratic leaders endorse Wolf for Governor
- Family of curlers sets sights on ’18 Olympics
- County confirms bacteria as source of little boy’s death
- Greensburg woman accused of assaulting nurse in Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital
- Real estate notes: Former J.C. Penney call center in Harmar sub-leased
- St. Molokai parish ruling imminent
- John Denver tune finally an ‘official’ W.Va. state song