Family heirloom found in rubble of burned business

MOULTON, Ala. (WHNT) –  Detra Smith has been a hair stylist in the Moulton area for many years. But earlier this summer, someone broke into her salon and set the place on fire to cover it up.

Detra told us then that most everything in there could be replaced, except for just a few very personal items. It wasn’t until the day after the fire that Detra even realized she’d been the victim of a theft.

The burglar tried to burn the small business down in an apparent effort to conceal the crime. Firefighters saved the building, but the area where she stored many of her personal items was scorched.

“The room where the fire really burned out everything is the room that was my art studio. I had a lot of my personal things there. My grandmother’s Bible is in there, it’s probably a hundred years old,” Detra explained.

Detra figured everything in the small room was lost, and she was in no hurry to go through the ashes to confirm her fears.  But a few days ago, she did and sure enough she would have to throw most of it away.

But on a shelf, behind a stack of charred books and papers, she found something very dear to her.

“Everything on the shelf was just black and ash.  If it wasn’t ash, it was melted and for some reason, this was protected,” Detra said.

And there it was, on the shelf where almost everything else had been destroyed, her grandmother’s old Bible.

“It was a great find. I felt like my life was made that day.”

Detra says the salon she operated for so many years will probably have to be torn down. But from the ashes she was able to save something very important, a loving record of her family’s history as recorded in her grandmother’s old Bible.

Within days of the fire, Moulton police and the state fire marshal’s office arrested Ashley Nicole Liles and charged her with setting the business on fire.  Liles remains in the Lawrence County jail where she’s being held without bond.

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