Kevin wondered why his neighbor Ruth lived and slept in her car even though she had a home only a few feet away. As friendly as she was, Kevin never saw her go into her house.
When Kevin finally did enter her house he discovered why she never went in. He couldn’t believe his eyes. The house was entirely unlivable.
Kevin Hardly Knew His Neighbor
Despite living across the road from Ruth for several years the pair didn’t actually know each other very well at all.
The only thing Kevin really knew about Ruth was that she had retired several years ago and that she lived alone. He had no idea, however, that soon they would have a very unique friendship.
She Owned a Home— But Lived in Her Car
Every night Kevin saw Ruth going to sleep in her car. He couldn’t understand that she would choose to live like this instead of walking a few feet to her home instead.
Kevin watched Ruth and realized that he hadn’t seen her going into her house in weeks. Something wasn’t right.
What Was Wrong With Her Situation?
Whenever Kevin walked past her car he would stop and check on Ruth, making sure she was awake. They would have brief conversations and soon Kevin started to piece her story together.
Kevin felt sad by the fact that Ruth lived and slept in a car. He knew there had to be a reason for choosing to sleep in her own driveway instead of her home.
Her Whole Life Was in Her Car
Kevin could tell that her situation embarrassed Ruth whenever he passed by and looked in her car. However, he couldn’t figure out why she would be.
She owned her own home and her own car. She’d retired and everything seemed fine. She seemed to have a good life, so what was going on?
Something Was Wrong With Her House
It was easy to see something was wrong when you looked at her house. All the windows had the blinds closed and the house wasn’t in the best state of repair.
Everything had been neglected. The grass was overgrown, the windows were dirty, and even the paint had faded. Kevin wondered if she needed a hand taking care of the house.
The Window Hadn’t Been Fixed in Years
One of the biggest signs of neglect was the fact that a window at the top of the house was broken and had been for some time.
Kevin thought that animals had perhaps moved in which would scare someone out of the house. However, Kevin soon found out the real reason why the window was left broken and it broke his heart.
Her Home Was Nice, But No One Was Allowed In
Kevin was walking past her car one day when he heard Ruth crying. He immediately ran to check on her and found her desperately looking through the plastic bags on the backseat of her car.
“What’s wrong?” Kevin asked Ruth. Ruth looked at him and when she spoke, the mystery of her home was solved.
She Had No Answers For Him Today
On a normal day, Ruth would walk to the gym to use the bathroom and get cleaned up before getting something to eat from a fast food place. Then she would go back to her car to keep an eye on her things and to sleep.
Unfortunately, Ruth’s car was in equally bad shape as her house and had broken down and couldn’t run.
Something Had Been Misplaced
As Ruth looked over the belongings in her car, she took a mental count of what she had with her.
When she made the choice to leave the home she had lived in to start living out of her car, she gathered the objects that meant the most to her. But she soon discovered that she left one very important object inside.
Ruth Searched Frantically
When Burns saw Ruth searching through her belongings, he wondered if an item had gone missing. Ruth soon made this apparent.
She stopped fumbling long enough to point a finger towards her home. “In the house.” Ruth said, with tears in her eyes. “I left it in the house!”
The House Was Daunting
Ruth seemed afraid to even step foot into her home and away from the safety of her car, which wasn’t even mobile anymore. She then questioned Burns, “Maybe you can go inside and get it!”
Burns was up for the challenge, and to finally find out what he had been wanting to know for months: what was in that house that Ruth had to escape from?
The Roof Was in Need of Repair
Kevin took the task on himself and told Ruth that he would venture into the home to find Ruth’s precious belonging.
Kevin found out that she was looking for a photo of her parents that was left inside the house. As Kevin started walking towards the house, the sight of broken roof tiles on the front lawn made him look up in terror. How long had the roof had a hole in it?
A Glimpse Inside Was Scary
The closer Kevin walked towards the house, the more apparent it became why Ruth decided to turn her back on the home she lived in for so many years.
Just a glimpse into the window showed piles and piles of clothes, garbage and papers. And the closer Kevin got to the house, the stronger a displeasing smell became…
The Doorway Was Blocked
Kevin opened the front door and had to move immediately as piles of trash fell at his feet. It was as if the door was the only thing keeping all of the garbage in the house from spilling onto the front lawn.
Had he made a huge mistake agreeing to search this home?
Ruth Asked Him to Go In
Ruth told Burns that what she was looking for was an old photo of her parents. When Burns entered the house it was immediately apparent to him that the house was unlivable for anyone.
There were piles of trash on the floors that made it hard to pass from one room to the next without holding onto the walls. And the large piles of garbage emit a smell that was hard to bear.
She Needed Something Lost Inside
Out of the kindness of his heart, Kevin agreed to find Ruth’s lost photo, but he now desperately wanted to get out of the house.
But, his curiosity got the best of him as he walked through the house. Was it possible that he could ever find one single photograph in this mountain of things?
Every Surface Was Covered in Trash
Kevin found the worst room of the house when he entered the kitchen. Ruth had left dirty dishes in the sink when she last left the house weeks ago that were the source of the smell that filled the house.
Kevin covered his nose as he stepped through the room, suddenly afraid of the quality of the air in the house.
The House Was Filled With a Horrible Smell
Obviously, no one had step foot in the house in weeks, but Burns wondered just how long it had been in this condition.
It would have taken weeks to search through every item in the home and Burns was starting to wonder if it would be possible to find this photo for Ruth before this house took him down with it.
Every Room Was a Disaster
Every room he passed through looked the same because they were all piled to the ceiling with Ruth’s belongings.
Living in a car seemed like a much better option than trying to navigate this house!
He Started His Search
If Burns expected to find the photo, he needed to start somewhere. So, he picked a pile of papers that seemed to be on the older side and started to go through them.
He expected his search to take hours if he continued at this rate…
There Were Years of Trash, Piled High
After looking through one pile of papers and finding nothing of importance, Kevin shoved it to his side and took a glance to his right.
There were still dozens of piles of papers, magazines and files that could be hiding the photo he was searching for. So, slowly but surely, he continued his search through the relics.
Everything Had a Thick Layer of Dust
The mess was so old that Burns had to find gloves and a face mask to shield himself from the dust flying into the room as he searched through objects that hadn’t been moved in possibly decades.
There was no way that in Ruth’s old age she could have had the strength to move the tons of pounds of papers that had been piling up for years.
An Old Book Got Him Closer to the Missing Object
When Burns picked up an old book, he knew he was getting closer to what he was looking for. The book was kept in a box with other sentimental objects like an old trophy and a framed diploma.
The box had noticeably less dust than most of the other objects in the room. Sure enough, with some more digging, Burns found what he had come in to find. But, would he be able to make his way out of the house?
He Found the Photo— But Something Else Caught His Eye
Luckily, the photo that was so important to Ruth was one of the few things that was left in immaculate condition. The photo was yellowed and faded, but still in great condition considering that the rest of the house was so poorly taken care of.
With the photo in hand, Burns was ready to leave the house as fast as he had entered, but then he saw an old, decrepit bookcase…
A Doorway Hidden Behind the Shelves
The bookcase was an odd sight to see. It was pulled slightly to one side where Burns could see a gaping hole in the wall behind it.
He knew he would never have this opportunity again, so he pushed the shelves out of the way further to make his way into the room, and that’s where he would see something he never expected…
He Got Down to Crawl Through the Hole
It was obvious that this hole was an entryway to a room, but why was it sealed and hidden behind a bookshelf?
Was there another entrance to the room that was blocked somewhere else?
Cobwebs Blocked the Way
If this was the main entryway, it would be difficult to crawl into it every time someone needed to get inside.
This entryway was filthy, and the cobwebs made it obvious that no one had stepped foot in this room for a very long time.
Old Photos in Immaculate Condition Lined the Walls
Unlike the rest of the house, the room that Burns had just uncovered was in great condition.
Although the room had low lighting, it was obvious to see the colored photos that lined the walls, seemingly very important to whoever stayed in this room last.
A Hidden Room Left Untouched
The room was filled with old toys and clothes, and as Burns looked over the one clean room in the house, he wondered who this room once belonged to that Ruth felt the need to keep it in great condition.
But Burns didn’t have much time to wonder because this room was also where the foul smell was at its worst.
Something Disturbing Caught His Attention
In the hallway adjacent to the mystery room, Burns saw a disturbing sight. The ceiling had a thick layer of back mold, which is known to be very hazardous to human health and in large amounts can be deadly to be around.
The hallway was so humid that the paint had begun to flake and fall off the walls around him.
He Had to Leave Immediately
It was obvious to Burns that this house was not safe to be in without the appropriate gear to protect his respiratory system.
When he returned, he did so in a protective suit with appropriate face masks to filter the air he breathed. But this was a job much bigger for one man.
This Is a Major Health Hazard
When Burns left the house, he immediately let Ruth know that her home wasn’t safe. After hearing the information about the mold, Ruth said, “I had no idea it had gotten so bad.” The two agreed to let a specialist into the home to clear out the mold.
Burns also wanted to mention the room that hadn’t been touched in years to Ruth, because he was dying for answers.
The House Had to Be Demolished
After a visit, the specialist let Ruth know that the only option left was to demolish the house, but in a way that wouldn’t pose a danger to neighbors or the workmen who would have to bring it down.
There was only one option, and it would mean that there wouldn’t be anything left of Ruth’s house in the morning.
The “Worst They Had Ever Seen”
The crew who visited the house told Ruth that her situation was the “worst they had ever seen” and that the mold couldn’t be cleaned without posing a serious danger to everyone involved.
So, the fire department was called and in this strange circumstance, they wouldn’t be putting out any fires, they would be starting one.
The House Was a Fire Hazard
But before the house could be demolished, most of the objects inside had to be removed and taken to a dump.
Sadly, because of the high levels of mold inside the home, very few things could be saved and it would be a health hazard to keep anything that had been near the mold.
Everything Needed To Go
With the help of the fire department and some volunteers, Ruth’s belongings were able to be moved from the house to the yard, where it would be packed up and trucked away.
And Ruth’s reaction to the large scope of work took everyone by surprise.
The Fire Department Brought their Whole Crew
After the belongings were out of the house, the fire department could do a final check and prepare to demolish the house.
The entire team of Ruth’s small town came out to the site to lend a hand clearing the area before they started demolition.
They Salvaged What They Could
A few more belongings were brought out to Ruth, who was thankful, but she still looked shaken.
People who have hoarding tendencies usually have very emotional responses to their belongings being touched by other people or moved from where they were placed. But, Ruth was now ready to move on with her life and leave her bad habit behind.
Ruth Was Torn
The clean up crew was prepared to console Ruth during this difficult time, but they didn’t expect her reaction.
She broke down in tears when it was finally time to say goodbye to the home, but she thanked each and every member of the fire department and clean up crew who helped move her things and helped her get on with her life.
Her Old Life Was Scattered on the Lawn
It was a scary sight to see exactly how much stuff was packed into Ruth’s small house.
It just goes to show how things can pile up when you are dealing with emotional difficulties and how easily things can get out of hand when no one is around to help pick up the pieces.
One Last Look Inside…
Before the house was burnt down, a final check through the house was done by the fire department.
Kevin Burns was still helping out Ruth and wondered if any of the belongings from the secret room would be salvaged.
One Person’s Trash is Another Person’s Treasure
The fire department brought out a few more large pieces of furniture to be thrown out, but Kevin noticed that none of the objects from the hidden room were on the front lawn.
But, it seemed too late to salvage anything else from the home now…
It Was in Her Best Interest
The fire department agreed to burn down the house because it was in the best interest of the homeowner.
And Ruth already knew that she had everything she needed to survive packed in the car she had been living in for the past few weeks. In a way, getting rid of that house would be a burden off of her shoulders.
Ruth’s Home Went Down in Flames
As the fires blared, Ruth and Kevin watched as the smoke billowed and consumed the exterior of the home. Ruth then said to Kevin, as if she knew what he was thinking, “That room was where my husband passed away.
I didn’t have the heart to go in there after he was gone.”
The Team Was Grateful That No One Was Hurt
The fire department crew stayed at the site well into the night to make sure the burning embers of the home didn’t reignite. This kind of work can be very dangerous and the crew has to make sure that the fire did not spread to any adjacent houses or put Ruth’s neighbors in danger.
But now that her house was gone, where would Ruth go?
Her Memories Were Burned to the Ground
After witnessing the total destruction of the home she built and lived her life in, where would she go? Surely, the car she was sleeping in wasn’t to be her final home.
Luckily, the friends she had made in her life would jump at the chance to help her.
She Needed a New Start
With all of her vital belongings packed up in her car, Kevin helped her set out on finding a place to live. A nearby community for senior citizens seemed to be the best bet for this older woman.
Ruth was long overdue to stay somewhere welcoming and inviting, with plenty of people to talk to.
This Community Welcomed Her with Open Arms
The senior living community welcomed Ruth with open arms although she was obviously still dealing with the death of her husband.
Ruth felt better to be around her peers and have a place to live where her needs would be met without fear.
She Made New Friends
Ruth’s quality of life improved tenfold after she stopped living out of her car. She started an exercise regimen and stopped eating the fast food and takeout she was used to.
She also kept in touch with Kevin Burns and thanked him often for helping her situation.
Her Quality of Life Improved
Ruth was soon able to let go of her hoarding habits and emotionally heal from the death of her husband.
It just took the support of a few loyal friends and their honesty to change her situation and make her life better in her twilight years.