80-Year Old Man Working To Recover From Lake Stone Camper Fire. Here’s How You Can Help.

January 8, 2020

Neal Koe, 80, was fast asleep early Saturday morning in his camper at Escambia County’s Lake Stone Campground in Century. He was jarred awake by the sound of the window by his head blowing out.

“I woke up to smoke filling the room and saw flames,” he said. “I managed to get out wearing only my skivvies.” He was not injured and refused transport to the hospital.

Tuesday afternoon, he was back searching the charred remains of his camper for anything that could be salvaged. He didn’t find anything.

“I was asleep in the bed up there,” he said, pointed to what is now nothing more than springs. “My table was over there. I had a new computer on it. But they are all gone now.”

Koe said he used to live “down in Florida”, including Tampa where he was in aerospace engineering, working on on simulators for IBM. He said later in life he came to Century where he was a caretaker at Lake Stone. “But I got too old and could not keep up with the work. I just stuck around after that.”

He poked around in the ashes some more.

“This is all I have left. Nothing. But I got out. God took care of me,” Koe said. “God took care of me.”

After the fire about 3:45 Saturday morning, several people stepped up to help him, including Victor Boyd with the Escambia County Facilities Department. He took Koe to Jay to get him some clothes, essentials and run a few errands. Dennis Kole, who is the current caretaker at Lake Stone, has also worked to help Koe where he can.

But Koe also needs additional assistance to get back on his feet. He did not have insurance and has no local relatives.

Donations are being accepted at the Lake Stone office on West Highway 4, including clothing (sizes below). He also needs basic household items that could be used in a camper. And he needs a camper. For more information, call the Lake Stone office at (850) 256-5555.

Clothing sizes:

  • Large shirts
  • 33/31 pants
  • Size 7 to 11 socks
  • Shoes 10W
  • Large boxer briefs
  • Large t-shirts

NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.


6 Responses to “80-Year Old Man Working To Recover From Lake Stone Camper Fire. Here’s How You Can Help.”

  1. Ellen Hawsey on February 12th, 2020 7:54 am

    Thank God he made it out

  2. Rescue Mom on January 15th, 2020 2:54 pm

    Update regarding donations for Mr. Koe. I had purchased brand new clothing, blanket and socks after hearing about his misfortune. It was delivered to Lake Stone this morning by a family friend. They were told that Mr. Koe has received plenty of clothing and doesn’t need additional clothing.

    At this time he is still in need of cash donations and a travel trailer.

  3. William Reynolds on January 8th, 2020 4:01 pm

    “Uncle M” we have sent an email to the address you used. Please contact us at news@northescambia.com

  4. tg on January 8th, 2020 9:10 am

    Mr Koe is a good man and will be taken care of by the great people of Escambia County. Its already happening.

  5. JustMe on January 8th, 2020 7:47 am

    Alright everyone lets pull together and help this gentlemen out please. I am going to start searching for some clothes and a coat for him when I leave work today.

  6. uncle M on January 8th, 2020 7:27 am

    I have a 5th wheel that is in need of repairs if he wants it. I was going to give it away better to him then anybody else.

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