JACKSONVILLE, Onslow County - "It's scary and it's a lot different when you wake up and realize that everything is gone and you have to start over."
That's how Jeremy Leatherbarrow described Sunday's fire that destroyed the home where he and roommate Michael Sgarlata were living. A visit to where the home stood brought back painful memories.
"The biggest thing was our clothes and listless sentimental things that we can't necessarily replace," Sgarlata said.
Both men are Marine aviators at New River Air Station in Jacksonville. They were home when the fire started. Leatherbarrow was working on his Jeep in the garage while Sgarlata was in the living room.
"It must have been two or three minutes max," Leatherbarrow said about stepping away from the Jeep. "I walked to grab a drink and my roommate was sitting on the couch and within two, three minutes, we heard 'pop'."
The noise was one of Leatherbarrow's tools catching fire. When they immediately ran to fight the fire, it was too late as the blaze was too strong. Their home and every memory inside went up in smoke.
"It was a 2001 Cherokee XJ," Leatherbarrow said. "I loved it. I'm really sad to see It go out this way. It did a great job for the years I had it."
Now, the rebuilding process starts. The two Marines are currently staying at a friend's home. Members of the base have started a GoFundMe page, where you can help. The base is also holding a cookout Monday to help raise money.
"You never know what you are going to think until it happens to you, but once everybody started helping out, we really felt welcomed and we really appreciates everyone's help," Sgarlata said.
"Anything, even just nice words, it means the world to both of us," Leatherbarrow said. "It's really powerful so anything helps us."
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