Edwardsburg family displaced after fire destroys homePublished 5:51pm Thursday, December 17, 2009
By JESSICA SIEFF
Beth Trout credits the smoke alarms installed in her Edwardsburg home for keeping her family safe shortly before midnight on Dec. 4.
That is when a fire that started in the stairwell of the house soon consumed their home, Beth, her husband, David, and three children, daughters Makayla, 10, and Michael, 7 – she’ll turn 8 on Christmas – and son Caiden, 4, were each able to make it out of the house safely.
The structure itself was destroyed, Trout said.
“We left everything inside the house,” she said. “All the contents are gone.”
Trout and her family have lived in their Grange Street home for four years. It would be five in May.
For now, they are staying in a nearby hotel while their insurance company continues to finalize legalities regarding the home as well as deciding whether or not the home will be considered a rebuild or a total loss situation.
“Thank God for fire alarms,” Trout said. “Because that’s what woke us up.”
Likewise, it just so happened that the entire family was sleeping downstairs. David had just had surgery on his leg so the family was asleep on the ground floor of the home and didn’t need to use the stairwell, Beth said.
The family had a plan in case of an emergency; the kids had been told to run as fast as they could to the neighbors’ house in the event anything were to happen.
The family first attempted to escape through the kitchen, just beyond where the fire had originated in the stairwell, but found that room was “engulfed” in flames.
Through the laundry room door, the Trouts were able to escape the house.
“Bless their hearts,” Beth said of the children, who did as they’d been taught and headed straight for their neighbor’s home, stopping when they realized their parents were out and safe.
The children are still dealing with the after-effects of the fire, Caiden having dreams every so often and from time to time getting emotional, “especially when they think of what they don’t have anymore.”
The family escaped the fire with only the pajamas they were wearing at the time.
Their community has stepped up to help out, however, Beth said.
The school donated backpacks and some other materials for the children and the parent-teacher organization at the school also donated some boots and snow pants.
The Trouts’ neighbor, Daun Gregory, secretary for the PTO at Edwardsburg, knows all too well what the family is going through.
Her family lost their home to fire as well in April 2008.
Gregory is accepting donations for the Trout family at her home from anyone who wishes to help out.
She said the children are especially keeping close to one another.
“The kids are real close anyway,” Gregory said, but since the fire, she added, they are hanging on to each other.