Archive for Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sole fire survivor looks for answers, closure

Grandmother recalls trying to save husband from blaze

October 12, 2006

Advertisement

Standing at the edge of the rain-soaked rubble that was once her home, Learlean Glover found things she didn't want to see:

A pair of baby shoes. The remains of her grandson Nolan Vender's child-size truck. A Dr. Seuss book.

"No, no, we don't want to look at that," Glover said, shirking at the baby shoes. "It's too much."

The fire at 1205 N.J. killed her husband, Charles Glover Sr., and their four grandchildren on Sept. 17. Learlean Glover spent Wednesday hunting for anything she thought she or her family might be able to use.

Old shirts could become hand-me-downs. Old, wet paperwork might still be salvageable.

She needs something, Glover said, to occupy her time. Since the fire, she's spent days trying to work as much as she can, picking through the home's remains or spending time with family. But when the sun disappears, every hour is a struggle, she said.

"At night, everyone would be around the house," Glover said, recalling her life before the blaze and holding an old, muddy book. "I'd be giving them baths, putting them to bed.

"That's when the tears flow."

Drudging through her and the children's belongings, the memories of that night race back, she said.

A photograph of Nolan Vender, 13, who died in the Sept. 17 fire at 1205 N.J., rests among the debris at the site. Learlean Glover, the only survivor, has spent days since the fire searching for salvageable belongings.

A photograph of Nolan Vender, 13, who died in the Sept. 17 fire at 1205 N.J., rests among the debris at the site. Learlean Glover, the only survivor, has spent days since the fire searching for salvageable belongings.

It was a quiet Saturday night. Glover had already laid out the next morning's church clothes. That's what she expected to open her eyes to, she said.

Instead, blinding smoke woke her. She didn't feel anything then, she said, except maybe panic.

She tried to get Charles Sr. out of bed, out of the house, she said, but he was tangled in his sheet.

"The smoke just overwhelmed him," she said.

It doesn't help that fire investigators haven't found a sure cause of the fire, concluding only that it started on the front porch and might have been an electrical fire or perhaps had a human cause.

"It's killing me," she said. "We don't know what started the fire."

Despite rumors that a propane grill started the fire on the porch, investigators say they still haven't pinpointed the cause.

Cory Bryan, daughter-in-law of Learlean Glover stands within the remains of the burned home at 1205 N.J., in which Glover's husband, Charles Glover Sr., and four grandchildren died on Sept. 17. The cause of the fire is still undetermined. Bryan and other family members have continued to search the site for toys of the children, photographs and other personal items.

Cory Bryan, daughter-in-law of Learlean Glover stands within the remains of the burned home at 1205 N.J., in which Glover's husband, Charles Glover Sr., and four grandchildren died on Sept. 17. The cause of the fire is still undetermined. Bryan and other family members have continued to search the site for toys of the children, photographs and other personal items.

Fire Marshal Rich Barr said it's true there were cooking appliances found outside the Glover home used for smoking and grilling meats. But they were at the rear of the home, he said, not on the front porch where the fire is believed to have started.

"We did not find this (purported front porch) propane grill, and the fire was not hot enough to totally consume it," Barr said. "We did, at the early stages, have people saying they believed that grilling occurred on the front porch but couldn't determine if it happened that day."

Barr said finding a fire's cause is a process of elimination, and that the investigation ruled out everything except an electrical problem or a human cause.

"We know that there was wiring on the porch that was energized," he said. "We don't believe there were any accelerants utilized on the porch because the dogs did not identify any, and we took samples as well. Those came back negative."

Barr said natural causes - such as lightning, high wind or spontaneous combustion from something like a pile of mulch - had been ruled out, as well as an "open-flame device" such as a cooking appliance.

"Because we have not narrowed it down to one possible ignition source, you really have to leave it open because there are still two possible scenarios," he said. "Because we couldn't eliminate everything, then speculation is going to occur."

Barr said it's not too late for anyone with information about the fire to come forward.

"The case is open. We never shut the case," he said.

Glover's son, Charles Glover Jr., said he didn't know more than the public about how the fire began, but that he's checking every day with Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical to see if the status of the case has changed.

"I have the information everyone else has," he said.

Meanwhile, Learlean Glover searches for answers, for peace. At nights, she said, she sits and questions what happened, what she could have done.

"What did we do wrong? Where did we go wrong?" she asked, looking out on her former home.

If she would have done something differently, if she could have got Charles Sr. unwrapped from the sheets, would it have mattered? Would someone else still be alive?

"That plagues me," Glover said.

But God, she said, left her here for a reason.

So although she said she feels "like an empty can," she still digs.

"There's memories here," she said. "If it's going to go, let me help it go. That's why I'm out here."



Benefit concert

An 18-and-over benefit concert for the Glover family has been scheduled for 9 p.m. Friday at Fatso's Public House & Stage, 1016 Mass. Performers include The Brody Buster Band, Billy the Squirrel, Tanner Walle, Sarah Blacker and The Nacho Brothers. "Charlie Glover Jr. is a good friend of Lawrence's music scene, working in various capacities in music for many years," Gavin Smith of Fatso's said in a statement. "We feel that the music community and community at large will come together to provide some financial assistance through donations for whatever the family needs." Anyone interested in making a donation without attending the event may call Fatso's at 865-4055 to donate via credit or check card.

Comments

pelliott 8 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for the item on the benifit concert and the comment about the other benefit. It was good to hear Mrs. Glovers' words. While sad, of course she is not ok but I think with all the love in her she will be. I have admired her and her family for a long time. I am sorry for her losses.

jranderson 8 years, 7 months ago

There is also a benefit at the Bottleneck Oct. 21st at 9 pm.

Marcy McGuffie 8 years, 7 months ago

Cuz it's always soooo easy to move on. Have some respect for the family, ruby.

armywife 8 years, 7 months ago

Yeah Ruby what a rude comment to make!!!! The Glover's were a big part of this community and we all pray they'll find a cause for the fire. I believe everyone that knew this family needs closure. If you don't like it then don't read the articles pertaining to this tragedy.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 7 months ago

Mrs. Glover, you have the hardest task any one could imagine. I will continue to pray for you. it takes a lot of courage to go back to your home and pick through the remains.


Ruby, this is still news in my neighborhood. I'm glad the ljw shared this story of Mrs. Glover's determination and courage in the face of such amazing tragedy. she doesn't have the opportunity to "just move on!"

Linda Endicott 8 years, 7 months ago

What an insensitive clod you are, Ruby.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family. My heart aches for you, Mrs. Glover, and I hope you find peace one day.

prioress 8 years, 7 months ago

I hope the Glover's find peace and Ruby finds either a sense of decency or a new hobby....... "De mortuis, nihil nisi bonum."

Sandra Willis 8 years, 7 months ago

I have been hoping that the reason for the fire's occurence turns up ... But, nothing yet? This is so terrible for Mrs. Glover and all her family to deal with. I am grateful that Mrs. Glover has family here, to talk with and try to accept her (their) losses. Hoping for the clue the Fire Marshalls need.

yellowrose 8 years, 7 months ago

Ruby, have you no compassion for anyone other than yourself? The deaths of loved ones is difficult to deal with under any circumstances but, to watch and hear the voices of those you love, to try to save at least one of them and fail and then live the rest of your life with the ever present memory of their suffering for the rest of your life has to be more painful than anyone can imagine. One doesn't just, "move on," as you put it. I'm glad that there are those of us in this community who care enough about Mrs. Glover to be interested in her welfare and that of her other family members and who want to know how they are coping. In time, she may, "move on," but, right now, she and her family need love and understanding. They need the freedom to go through the grieving process and they need their comunity to help them through it in any way we can in the ways they request. They don't need comments and heartless attitudes that say, "move on." Grow up and get a heart or don't spread your vicious venum by reading about the misfortune of others and making such comments. Put yourself in Mrs. Glover's place. If your husband and grandchildren were trapped inside of your burning home and you tried to save them and couldn't, would you be able to just "move on? Is it even remotely possible that you would spend hours every day, sifting through the burnt ruins of what was once your home, hoping to find any shredd of something to hold on too as a mommento of those you lived with and loved so dearly? Could you just "move on," and forget all the years and all that you had shared with your deceased family members who lived with you in that house? Think about these things and then look in the mirror of your heart, if you have one. If you don't, one just might start growing where one ought to be.

twackerslow 8 years, 7 months ago

Ruby- How is it that every comment you have ever made has been inappropriate? I think that you need to find another hobby than to sit here and worry about everybody elses issues when it is perfectly clear that you have enough of your own insecurity/issues to deal with. This community sticks together in hard times. We don't have many people like you that just want to make hard times worse.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.