Benefit planned to help family after fire

Officials and neighbors look over damages caused by an early morning residential fire that took place Monday destroying a detached double car garage and significantly damaging the back side of a home located on the east side of the 200 block of  Garfield Avenue.

 By Kay Braddock

An early morning fire destroyed a detached two-car garage and caused severe damages to portions of a home in Terry on Monday. Minor damages were also sustained by neighboring property.
Volunteer firemen of the Terry Fire Department responded to the blaze at the 200 block of Garfield Avenue shortly after 2 a.m. Firemen worked on keeping the blaze from spreading for about another four hours, according to Terry Fire Chief Dwight Tague. 
Once on the scene Tague said it was quickly determined the garage would be a total loss, so he and about seven other firemen worked to cool down the east end of the house, which neighbored the garage. Poking holes in the east end ceiling of the four-bedroom home, fire fighters were able to water down the home’s rafters.
“We’re just lucky we didn’t lose more structures,” Tague said, noting the tight quarters that exist between homes on that block. 
Including the former county courthouse, which contains a remodeled apartment, six residences are housed on that block. About a 10-foot space exists between neighboring homes on either side of the house.
Homeowners Todd and Misty Twiford called in the fire just as they were preparing to go to bed. The couple had returned home from work at Roy Rogers Tavern about an hour earlier and had been visiting in the kitchen.
“That’s when Misty noticed the glow out the back window,” Todd Twiford said. 
Using his cell phone as he stood outside, he recalled “watching the garage going up in flames” and repeatedly telling dispatch operators to “get somebody over here!”
The family of five, including two daughters ages 8 and 5 and one 15-year-old son, stood outside the home and watched as firefighters worked to keep the blaze from spreading beyond the garage. The younger children were later taken to spend the night with family in Terry.
“I just can’t believe how fast everything can be gone in an instant, before you know it,” Twiford said.
Among the losses were the family’s car, a 2002 Subaru Outback, a dirt bike, and furniture and clothing items stored in the garage. Water damages were also sustained throughout the east side of the home, including a walk-in closet that housed electronic items. 
Walking through the home shortly after the fire, Twiford said was a difficult experience.
“It was starting to make me sick,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it, so we had to leave.” Adding, “It’ll just take time to make it feel like home again.”
But despite the losses, Twiford said he is left feeling grateful.
“(I’m) just thankful we’re not planning a funeral,” he said. “Everything lost was just material.”
Twiford’s appreciation extended to fire fighters who arrived on the scene.
“I’m so grateful for everybody who was there,” he said. “They did a great job.”
After investigating the scene Monday morning Deputy Chief Fire Marshal Jerry Smith determined the likely cause of the fire could have been the 2002 Subaru Outback parked in the garage just about an hour before the blaze started. 
“There was so much damage,” Smith said of the scene. “There wasn’t a whole lot to look at.” 
There was no electricity to the garage and therefore no space heater or similar electrical item, which can initiate a fire, Smith noted.
The fire was ruled accidental, unknown.
Although the family, who had just moved into the home about four months ago, was in the process of acquiring home insurance, Twiford said he wasn’t sure of the status of insurance on the property. 
The family is currently staying at the Kempton Hotel, through donations of the the American Red Cross, which has also provided for funds for clothing and other necessities.
A March 19 benefit pancake and sausage dinner is being planned to help the family replace and repair items lost. The dinner will be held at Roy Rogers Saturday, March 19, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Published March 16, 2011

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