This is the final installment of what it’s like to lose your home to a fire.

This may be the final installment of this saga for the Chieftain, but it’s far from the end of the story. We now must rebuild our lives from the ashes of the April 13 fire that destroyed our garage and damaged our home on Lime Quarry Road above Enterprise.

We’re still trying to find a long-term rental that will house us all — four adults, four kids, four dogs and two cats — for about a year. That’s the estimate on how long it will take to get the house habitable again.

We’re particularly eager to find a rental, to regain some semblance of a normal life and to get our animals out of lockup. They’ve been at Lin-Lee Kennels in Joseph since the week of the fire.

Don and Pam Kiser there were gracious enough to take the cats within hours of the fire and the dogs within a couple days. They heard about the fire and actually contacted us first and are giving our animals excellent care. But have the critters forgotten us?

In addition to the Kisers, we’re quite grateful to Andy and Lindsey Marcum, who came to get the dogs the morning of the fire and kept our two beagles for two days, as well as Andy’s mom and Patrick and Amy Patterson who took Zak and Lynn’s three dogs.

We know it was a burden and we appreciate these friends. We also can’t thank Andy and Vanessa McKee enough for letting us use their bed and breakfast since the fire. Now it’s time to find a rental.

We’ve pretty well found everything salvageable from the fire. We’ve sent clothing, furniture and other household items off to companies that will do their best to restore them. That which can’t be made smoke-free will be replaced.

It seems the insurance company wants to restore the house to, as Zak, says, “what it was 30 seconds before the fire.”

That’s only fair, and we don’t want to see a classic 1904 farmhouse replaced with something modernistic. From what I understand — I’m no construction guru — they plan to strip the house down to studs; seal smoke-tainted wood to keep the odor in; replace insulation, sheetrock, ceiling and some walls and flooring; and at least portions — maybe all — of the roof.

The garage, its adjacent rooms and the shop, of course, will have to be entirely rebuilt.

Even though there’s light at the end of the tunnel, the fire has changed us. As the fire inspector told Zak, “You’ll never be the same. It’ll change the way you think about many things.”

How true! Within days, Zak and Lynn said they no longer want wood heat, even though it had nothing to do with causing the fire.

I think my wife, Margaret, agrees, but I’m an old curmudgeon and wouldn’t mind another wood stove — carefully tended.

While we’re still devastated by the loss of our things and damage to our home, we remain hopeful. Our hope and joy are rooted in our faith and how God has used His people.

I can’t begin to list all the people God has put in our lives to help us through this tragedy — and the Chieftain doesn’t have the space.

But I will thank the many on the “meal train” who fed us delicious dinners since the fire (I’m getting fatter); our elder son, Seth, and daughter, Amber, who set up a GoFundMe account for us; certainly the firefighters who saved as much as possible; and other community members, family, friends and fellow believers who have been there.

God bless you all.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.