Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Devastating Fire



Last Thursday my very, very, good friend's house burned to the ground. She and her husband had sent all the kids to bed and checked the house before going to bed themselves at around 11:oo pm. Here is an excerpt from the local paper:

Dan and Gay Snyder and seven of their eight children were displaced after their home at 2041 Alliance Road burned to the ground shortly after they went to bed.
Family friend Pat Allen said the Snyders and seven of their children went to bed at around 11 p.m. An adult daughter, who is a college student, was not home at the time of the blaze.
By 11:22 p.m. the family was standing in the driveway, wearing pajamas and watching their home go up in flames.


A family spokesman said Gay Snyder was awakened by the family dog, and when she went to investigate, she found the home filling with smoke. The Snyders roused their children and all evacuated the home.

Firefighting operations were hampered by extreme cold and a moderate wind fanning the fire.

Dry hydrants at area ponds were tapped for tanker filling, and the cold caused one of the fill pipes to snap under pressure. There was not enough manpower to cut through ice to access water, so tankers were shuttled to the Deerfield fire station, where there is a 35,000-gallon cistern with a fill pipe accessible for tankers.

The Edinburg Fire Department set up a second fill site at a pond in the area of Giddings Road and S.R. 14, and quickly assembled an alternative fill pipe. The Atwater Fire Department was able to continue to access the fill site with a broken line at Fewtown Road.

A faulty valve on a heating gas line allowed natural gas to feed the fire for almost an hour before the supply was finally stopped at the gas well.

About 20 firefighters assisted 12 responders from Deerfield. The Portage County Sheriff’s Department assisted with traffic control.

Deerfield Fire Chief Miles Felmly said the residence was a two-story home. The floor in the front of the home collapsed early in the fire, giving the impression that the fire may have burned under the floor for some time before being detected. Damage figures are still being determined, but the home is a total loss. Cause of the fire has not yet been determined but the faulty gas valve had nothing to do with the origin of the fire.

The Portage County Chapter of the American Red Cross assisted the family.
Allen said the family is temporarily staying at the home of an adult daughter, but her home is too small to comfortably accommodate so many people. However, the family needs to stay close by because they need to care for livestock.


She said there has already been an “overwhelming” response by churches, family, friends and contacts through the 4-H club in which the Snyder family is involved.

“This family has been so giving and does so much for others,” she said. “We just tell them that it’s our turn now to help them.”



Record Courier Newspaper




My friend Gay Snyder (on the left) and her daughter.



Here is a link to a video from a local TV station that came out and interviewed my friend and her husband.






Gay told me that her son, Daniel, is being awarded for his action with getting all the kids out of their rooms and outside. She said that one of their family dogs came downstairs with the kids but they lost one, a lab named Brandy, in the fire. Her son had to be treated with oxygen by the paramedics after they arrived.
Daniel Snyder


This is Gay's son who was able to get all the family out. He is a really wonderful, hardworking young man who is starting his own construction company.



Everybody piled into her daughter's house, finding room to sleep on the floor, it looks like Oscar takes up a lotta room.


They were looking desperately for a house nearby to rent but there was nothing close enough to their farm. They have horses and cattle that need daily care. Right now they are hauling water in for them but they hope to get their electricity hooked back up soon so they can get the well working again. She and her husband think that they may try to have a house trailer moved onto their property so that they can stay there while re-building.



A welcome sign that one of the kids painted.



It may be hard to find a trailer for their large family but I think it's the best thing for them. She will be close enough to get her garden going this spring. She lost hundreds of jars of food that she had canned last summer and she had two freezers in her basement that were lost too.



Her husband had recently finished the front porch.



She mentioned that even though they will get insurance money for their things it can never replace all the handmade things that she and her kids have made over the years. Most of the gifts that they exchanged over the years were homemade.



Just before Christmas she had shown me the dresses that she had made for the younger girls for church. They were beautiful and looked like they were right out of a Mary Jane Butters Farm Magazine.






Gay's youngest daughter and Oscar.

She said that she was so thankful to the Red Cross because right away they gave each child money to replace their glasses that they had lost and a little money for some groceries. Her first priority along with the glasses was to get all their birth certificates replaced. She needed them in order to replace her drivers license plus she had three adopted kids, one from Liberia and two from Haiti, that she lost all their paper work and needs to replace.



She mentioned that one thing that she is sad about is that she lost all of her cookbooks and recipes that she had been collecting over the years. She is an amazing cook, making everything from scratch. Her cinnamon rolls are fantastic! Her husband built most of the house himself, adding on to an old farmhouse over the years. He had even made their living room floor out of cherry wood that he had made himself.



She's very sad about losing all their pictures and videos too. Even through all of this she has not lost her sense of humor. She said that as long as they are together they will be happy and they will laugh together.




The Snyder Family
Update: I was asked in a comment if there was a fund set up for the family. There is, this is taken from the paper "Donations may be made to the Snyder Benefit Fund at any branch of Huntington Bank. "
Plus one more thing...If anyone out there has back issues of Mary Jane's Farm Magazine and doesn't need them she would love, love, love to have them. She lost all of hers and they are her most favorite thing. If you would consider sending them I would be more than happy to send you the money for postage. I went to the website to see about getting them but they don't have a lot of them. Just leave a comment and I'll get in touch with you or send me an email.
Beth

5 comments:

Kelle said...

OH my, how sad, but PTL the family is all safe. Sorry they lost a dog though :o(

It's a worry, when you buy older homes, burn a wood stove, etc.... Sadly fire is usually a total loss, either by burning, smoke or water damage.

PTL they still have humor. The loss of the personal items is terrible, the rest can be replaced and thankfully they do have their memories.

Is there a fund set up for them? If so would you share the info. we'd like to help.

They'll all need lots of hugs, especially the son, who was so brave and got all the children out safely.

Blessings,
Kelle

Anonymous said...

Thank you for such a thoughtfully-done report on the Snyders' fire. I am sure that there are many of us who know them from "way back when" who will be happy to find this site. We, too, praise the Lord for His safekeeping of all in the family.

karl said...

tragic, it makes my simple losses of late seem like a trifle. our prayers go out to them.

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Jen said...

How sad! But Praise God that they are all ok!

Regarding the cookbooks, I know that when I make something at church or in the community many people ask me for the recipes. Maybe you could put the message out for anyone who might have one of her old recipes to get it to you. Maybe you could put together a small collection of them.

Another idea would be to find out what cookbooks she had. Maybe some of your blog readers might have one or some they might want to donate to her. I have many many cookbooks that I've collected. A couple I'd even be willing to send to you for her.

Blessings,
Jen