Nearly two years after fire, Columbus woman still unable to come home

COLUMBUS, Ind. -- A fire devastated a Columbus family's home nearly two years ago, but the pain didn't end there.

You won't find any cooking, bathing, or much of anything at all going on inside Carolyn Jolley's home. By the time CBS4 Problem Solvers met the 72-year-old there last November, the days were starting to wear on her.

"I just want to come home. I'm like Dorothy in the Whiz, I kick my heels together but I can't get back," Jolley said.

Jolley's story started in July of 2016, when an accidental grease fire set her home of 30 years ablaze. She and her family members all got out okay, but the house was badly damaged.

Jolley filed with her insurance company and hired Global Restoration, also known as Global Builders Restoration, to rebuild the home. According to an invoice, filed in December of 2016, the project would cost nearly $200,000.

"The money that the insurance company paid me, I paid them," Jolley said.

Cashier's checks show Jolley handed over more than $170,000 to the company. Yet, a year after she signed the first check, she showed CBS4 Problem Solvers her house, which was not close to being finished.

"It's just a lost feeling. It's like you're just out there, lost," Jolley said.

CBS4 Problem Solvers found out Global Builders Restoration is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and holds an A-plus rating, but no longer has the Columbus office where Jolley first hired them. We were able to get Tom Brown, the estimator on Jolley's invoice, on the phone through the company's Carmel office.

Brown said he bought the company from its previous owners. In a response to a complaint by Jolley to the Indiana Attorney General, Brown said the previous project manager, "...stated he was further along than he was. He quit with no notice and we are working hard to pick up the pieces he left undone."

For months, Brown kept CBS4 Problem Solvers updated, saying he needed Jolley to pick out tile and order cabinets. She did that, and work began, but last month, we visited Jolley again and found not much progress had been  made.

"They've brought some more things in, but they have not really done anything," Jolley said at the time.

Wood had been stained, and the cabinets and tile had arrived, but nothing had been installed. We found Jolley much the same as she had been five months earlier.

"Mentally, it is very, very draining," Jolley said. "I try not to think about it."

By phone, Brown again told CBS4 Problem Solvers he was working on it.

"You typically would set cabinets and then tile. She wouldn't let us do that," Brown said. "Once the tile's done, we'll fly through the rest of it."

CBS4 Problem Solvers made plans to meet Brown at the home the next week, but that meeting never happened. The day this story was scheduled to air, Brown said the tile work had begun and he expected the work to progress quickly.

Brown also set a meeting Friday with Jolley, so that the two could work out details. Jolley said that she's hopeful this time, it will work out, since she's approaching two years since she last lived in her home.

"I just keep telling myself, okay, come July I'm going to be able to move back home," Jolley said.

Brown has repeatedly blamed Jolley for the slow progress, saying she has been picky and recently stopped his tile crews from working in the home. Jolley told CBS4 Problem Solvers she has only been worried that work would not be done correctly, after such a long wait.

If you have a problem you'd like us to consider, contact CBS4 Problem Solvers at 317-677-1544 or ProblemSolvers@cbs4indy.com.

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