It’s Already Old News…

And yet we’ve just begun the process. The world has gone forward, us included, yet it amazes me how tumultuous our lives remain. My family appreciates everyone’s continued thoughts and prayers. Donna went to the house for the first time since the fire yesterday, and it was really hard on her. I think if the home were completely burned, it would be easier to deal with — but it’s not. One room is completely destroyed, but the rest of the house is just blackened, twisted, and ominous. I mentioned last week on Twitter that our house seemed like a version in an alternate universe, where things were dark, desolate, and destroyed. It’s quite unpleasant to visit. I took a few pictures, but most don’t turn out well because everything is black and there is only the light filtered in through smoke and heat damaged windows.


This was the first thing we saw when the door was opened. Our new washer and dryer, completely white, were blackened and filthy looking.



For a contrast on how the house used to be, I moved a rug that was sitting on the kitchen floor. The white is the color everything used to be — now it’s all pitch black. It’s baked into every surface, and can’t be scraped away.



This photo is hard to make out, but here on the left is the remains of a bedroom floor. on the right is a gaping hole to the crawlspace below. This room completely burned, without even floor joists left in the center.



Just an example of the “alternate reality” appearance, here is our shower stall with shampoo in place, yet horrid looking.



Same with the (white) bathroom counter. This is where the girls primped and curled their hair for church, hours later it was converted to what you see here.



A rather disturbing image is the playroom. These are toys my niece just got for Christmas. The photo doesn’t really show just how black the black is.



Oddly, this hand-painted piece (a Christmas gift from a family friend) is seemingly unharmed. While you can’t tell from the photo, everything around it is completely black and stained. This bright orange painting is like a beacon in the center of destruction.



And lastly, blackened, slightly burned, yet still accurate. The sign that hangs above our hallway reads, “As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”


10 thoughts on “It’s Already Old News…

  1. Exactly Shawn….”As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” That says it all…and the hand-painted piece that stands out….nothing can separate us from the LOVE OF GOD…nothing!

  2. Shawn —

    It occurred to me this morning what must be going through your mind as you drove to church. Looking at these pictures … if that fire had started in the middle of the night the outcome might have been very different. For the most part this is just “stuff” — I think Someone was watching over you.

    I think about your lost pets, too. I’ve lost many over the years, mostly to old age thankfully, but I still miss them.

  3. I look at the bottles of things and wonder if their contents are still useable. And whether the washer/dryer still work. And I hope that more is salvageable than first appears.

    The roof fell in on the building I grew up in, because someone removed the wall that was holding it up without checking. They had “do not cross” tape all over the front door but I went in anyway. That’s the closest I can imagine to your trip, but still not really the same, because I’d long since stopped living there by then.

  4. Sadly, the fire restoration company said the ONLY things they’d be able to salvage are stainless steel pans and dishes that were kiln-cured. The pressurized smoke and heat are insidious as what they ruin. My sister in law actually tried to save some shampoo, but the smell is in everything.

    For as intact as things appear, it’s hard to believe it’s a total loss. Until you see (and smell) them first hand.

  5. I’m glad everyone is alright. I have been where you are. It is a strange reality. I know that if you have any blankets, clothing, etc. that have meaning the laundry mat can do fire damage rescue on them. They saved my great gram’s blanket for me. It smells a bit a first when they are done, but it goes away.

    God Bless

  6. Shawn, that looks so familiar and brings back memories. So glad you guys are all right.

    I have a lovely handmade wooden cutting board that to this day has a black scar on one side. The rest of it was protected by the stuff sitting on top of it, so a little sanding and reoiling brought the cutting surfaces back smell-free. Also some fine china with black spots on the platinum bands. I think that’s about all that’s left from my long ago fire.

    China & stainless clean up really well, glass items may be too heat stressed to try and salvage. Even so, I seem to remember using the bathtub in our temporary place to soak things repeatedly in clorox and grease-cutting solutions.

    You’re right about the smell and the smoke stains & grease. We were able to move back into our apartment a few months after the fire. I kept telling the office I could still smell smokiness, but was told they’d stripped or sealed everything before repainting it. Then one day I grabbed for something without opening the linen closet folding doors all the way and my arm came out black. Seems the outside of the doors got sealed and repainted, but they’d never taken the door off it’s track and done the same to the inside.

    Think I drove over the office on the spot and showed them my greasy arm to prove I wasn’t crazy! Then they believed me!

    That was 1978. To this day I instantly recognize the smell if I’m in a neighborhood where there’s been a building fire.

  7. Shawn,
    I’ve been wanting to write to you to say how incredibly sorry I am to hear about your fire. When I first met my husband, one thing we bonded over was our apartment fires. He had a fire a couple of years before I met him, and at the time my daughter and I were camping out in a bedroom of a friend’s house because we’d just had an apartment fire — our displacement was nothing like the loss your family had, but it gives me a better understanding of how difficult this must be for you all.

    I’m glad you and your family are safe and have such a wonderful network of friends, family, and community to help you out. Best wishes for a speedy house-fire recovery.

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