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Family friend Lisa Mills has begun collecting donations from the community. She said it's important to her to make sure the couple have something to build on when Tia Fendi Bags Gray arrives.
"They are a wonderful, young couple trying to make it, and this is going to be devastating to them," Mills wrote to the Herald.
by Monday. When Mariah was told about the fire Thursday night, she was in the hospital, having early contractions.
to sort through her possessions. The couple found photo albums, a computer, a washer and dryer and countless other unsalvageable items; the only comfort for the couple was that their pet ball python, Diddy, was saved by firefighters.
On Friday, the couple moved among the remains of their apartment, where everything the walls, furniture, paintings, tables and clothing was blackened, charred or cracked. Couches slumped under a layer of soot and a new television looked as though it had partially melted. The walls and ceiling appeared coated with thick, black paint, and despite open windows on a chilly day, the smell of smoke was overpowering. The door to the baby's room, adorned with Tia's name in block letters, was as black as night.
"It still hasn't all sunk in yet," Mariah said quietly, looking at a bag of baby clothing, "knowing I can't say I'm going home."
"How do you tell her she's got nothing to come home to?" Cottonham asked.
The tragedy is amplified by its timing. Cottonham and Modern are expecting their first daughter, Tia, to arrive Fendi Piccola Hobo Bag
Mariah said she was staggered Friday morning when fire officials allowed her in the building Fendi Peekaboo Purple
Thursday night. She was on the phone with Mariah, struggling with how to tell her pregnant daughter that she had lost almost everything she owned.
Infant to be born homeless after fire guts apartment
On a clear Friday afternoon, Mariah stood near Tia's crib as her great uncle attempted to clean it, with bags of what baby clothing and household items the family felt it could salvage lying on the lawn of her grandmother's home. When the baby arrives, Cottonham and Modern will be living with the grandmother on South Street in Portsmouth, a short drive down the road from their former apartment.
The couple had no renter's insurance.
"Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw," Mariah said.
PORTSMOUTH HERALD Lori Cottonham could only watch, eyes filled with tears, as firefighters battled a blaze consuming her daughter Mariah's apartment Peekaboo Fendi Mini
Tia will come into the world without most of the toys and clothes her family had provided for her, all damaged or destroyed by the fire and smoke, and with no home of her own.
The home was an apartment at 264 Lafayette Road, Building B. Portsmouth firefighters responded to the location following a report of a blaze on the top floor. There, Assistant Fire Chief Steve Achilles said, they found a fire in the mixed business and residential building. They were able to contain the blaze before it spread, but not before the combination of heat and heavy smoke heavily damaged the apartment of Mariah Cottonham, 24, and her boyfriend, Dan Modern, 23.
"I'm so grateful," Mariah Cottonham said.
"It couldn't be happening at a worse time," Modern said, added that he'd received two calls Thursday while he worked in Kittery, the first to inform him his girlfriend was in the hospital and the second because his apartment was on fire.
An outpouring of support came almost immediately, she said. Mariah and her mother said friends, businesses and strangers alike began reaching out to offer help, and the Herald received several e mails Friday from city residents asking how they could contribute. Lori said she hoped that, with help, her daughter will be able to get an apartment and, in the meantime, rent a space to store what can be salvaged.
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