Community rallies to help elderly couple who lost home to fire: ‘It flamed up so fast’

CHARLES CITY COUNTY, Va. — For 32 years, 85-year-old Elnora Sargent and 75-year-old Gilbert Sargent have lived in a home along Little Elam Road in rural Charles City County.

But now all that is left are memories and a charred frame, after the couple’s mobile home went up in flames on Jan. 24.

“Gilbert said it just flamed up so fast that there was nothing that he could do,” explained Nona Mason, Sargent’s services facilitator.

Mason told CBS 6 she has known Elnora and Gilbert for years, and the second she found out they were living in a motel and had nothing left but the clothes on their backs, she posted about the situation on Facebook.

“One of my friends responded and said, 'I’m going to get my coworkers and investors that I know,'” Mason said.

Mason said the next thing she knew, a GoFundMe account was established and help was pouring in from local realtors and others in the community.

“People called and reserved additional nights at the motel because the Red Cross only gave them two nights and the couple wouldn’t have had anywhere to go after that,” Mason said.

While Elnora and Gilbert now have a place to sleep through February, Mason said the goal is to raise enough money to buy a new mobile home for their lot or have one donated.

“Yes, that would just be the ultimate," Mason said with a smile. "I can’t wait for that, and I’m just believing that it will happen.”

As of Feb. 7, more than $3,000 has been raised for the couple.