Hillliary Moore has more friends than he realized after a fire Thursday evening damaged his home on Beethoven Drive and police rescued his 20-year-old developmentally disabled son.
“I can’t believe people are doing all of this,” said the 82-year-old widower Friday, gesturing at the 20-some boxes, bags and other packages containing clothing, home goods and food that people donated.
The items were temporarily placed in neighbor Pauline Beattie’s home. Her son-in-law, Chris Carmon, carried in more items left on the front porch while Moore talked and answered phone calls from people checking on him and his son Matthew, a 2018 Westlake High School graduate.
Westlake police and firefighters are still investigating how the fire started in the attached garage at Moore’s two-story home. The initial call came in at 6:15 p.m. Investigators have not placed a damage amount on the home, saying it is extensive.
Moore was not home when the fire started. He had gone to the store to get milk.
“Then when I got back I saw what was going on at my home and couldn’t believe it.” he said.
Police were aware that Moore’s son lived with him and were concerned that he could still be inside. Two officers broke through the back door of the smoke-filled home and found Matthew Moore alone and scared. They carried him out. He had no injuries, said Capt. Jerry Vogel of the Westlake police.
“We’d been to the home before to check on the occupants, so the officers didn’t want to take chances and went into the home,” Vogel said.
Neither officer wanted to be identified, Vogel said, adding that they look at it as just doing their job.
Moore sees it differently.
“I’m going to find both of them and shake their hand while thanking them for getting my boy,” Moore said. “There are a lot of people who I’m going to be thanking for a while.”
He’s already offered his thanks to Beattie, a retired legal secretary, who let Moore stay at her home Thursday night.
“He needs help, so I’m glad to offer him some,” Beattie said. “People like him and his son. It’s a good thing to do.”
Matthew Moore, a 2018 Westlake High School graduate, is safe and is staying with a family friend, his father said.
Moore spent the next few nights at another neighbor’s home while he tried to sort out what to do next, he said.
“There’s a lot going through my head right now,” Moore said. “Looking at the home right now, I don’t think I’ll be able to rebuild it. It means a lot because it was my father-in-law’s before us.”
Moore said he doesn’t think much is salvageable inside the home where he lived for 22 years. The problem is compounded by his current fight with his insurance company, which canceled his policy several months ago, he said. The company said he wasn’t paying the premium, which he disputes.
“I don’t know how it’s going to turn out,” he said. “But we’ll have to find another place.”
Besides Westlake, firefighters from Bay Village, Fairview Park, Lakewood, North Olmsted, North Ridgeville and Rocky River battled the fire.
Meanwhile, Moore looked at some of the bags and boxes again, and again uttered thanks to the many people trying to help him and his son.
“People sure are being generous,” he said. “I’m going to have to find a way to thank them all and then help other people too when I’m able.”
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