Home burns while mom in hospital giving birth

Published 6:35 am Thursday, June 5, 2003

By By MARCIA STEFFENS / Niles Daily Star
CASSOPOLIS -- Kamren never even got to sleep in his new crib with matching dresser and changing table. His mother had delivered him by C-section just two days before his family's home on Short St. burned.
Laura Stanton was having a special lunch in Lakeland Hospital in Niles with her mother Nancy Wilson and her daughter Christina, who had been a birthing coach when her best friend called, but asked to talk to her mother.
When Wilson started to cry and had to go out in the hall, Stanton thought something had happened to her brothers or father, as her sister Katherine Marie had been beaten to death in Decatur just last November.
Instead she learned while her other two children were at school an electrical fire had destroyed all of their possessions.
Inviting the single mom back home was done without a thought by Nancy and her husband Bob, who were already raising Katherine's two sons, ages 13 and 6.
Promising not to lift anything heavier than the 7 lb. 6 oz. baby, Stanton went home that night, only to see from her mother's porch the fire rekindle the next day.
It has been hard to keep the children out of their burned home, as their grandparents live right down the road. "They keep trying to salvage things."
Christina lost her Barbie collection, which she kept on shelves with the dolls still in their boxes. Samantha had collected carousel horses. For Matthew, the lost was greatest of his bionicals. "Everything is grey now," Stanton said.
Still he could tease his grandmother when her car slowed down as it had done for nine years, about to drop them off one day at the driveway where the burned out trailer with the addition her husband built sits. Matthew suggested maybe they should go to grandma's house instead.
Amazingly one photo was recovered -- that of laura's sister and her brothers Russell and Charlie, who live with their families and the Wilson's four other grandchildren in Elkhart, Ind.
It was just over a year ago that Nancy's mother died. A brother to Nancy lives in her trailer now, next to the one which Stanton hopes to take down and put a new home in its place.
Not seeing Kamren "grow up in that house," where her other children had been, brought tears to Stanton's eyes, but she is ready to "start over."
She doesn't have a choice. "My children are a blessing. I have a new baby, a new life -- there isn't anywhere to go but up."
A pancake benefit breakfast to help the family will be held on Saturday, June 14 from 6 to 11 a.m. at the V.F.W. Post, 131 S. Broadway, Cassopolis. Call Belinda Gravit at (269) 445-5400 or Nancy Wilson at 445-5845 with find out how to offer help.
Any clothing not able to be used by the family will be sent with donations to Honduras from their church, Pleasant V iew Church of Christ in Cass, Wilson said.