Family counting blessings after fire

Published 9:38am Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Elaine Brewton took shelter from the rain under the porch of a workshop Thursday afternoon in McCullough. Her coat wrapped tightly around her, she stood silently as her husband John spoke to an official from the fire marshal’s office less than a hundred yards from where, what the couple described as their dream home, once stood. At that moment, all that remained was the still smoking rubble – the result of an apparent explosion inside the house.

Almost a week later, Elaine is still repeating the few words she was able to muster at the scene of the fire – “we are so blessed.”

“We lost everything, but we still have each other and that’s what counts,” she said.

Elaine, John and their daughter Marcie know just how close they came to that not being the case.

“On any other day she would have been there,” Marcie said of her mother hours after the fire. “My daughter was at the kidney doctor and we decided to go ahead and go get her driving permit so she wouldn’t have to miss another day of school. I called mom and she said, ‘I’m not going.’  I called her a little later and she said, ‘I’ll go, but I don’t feel like it.’ If mom had been here, she’d be laying in the grass out there.”

But Elaine wasn’t there, and John, who was home, but not in the house at the time of the blast, suffered only mild injuries while attempting to save family pets.

Now, Elaine says, they will begin the process of rebuilding.

“We have a lot of paperwork to do,” she said. “Wind Creek has put us up for a few nights and hopefully we’ll get a trailer out there soon.”

Elaine said her family was fortunate to have taken steps to prepare themselves for such a disaster.

“Our insurance company has been excellent,” she said.

Although the investigation into the cause of the explosion is still ongoing, Elaine said she has also been trying to come up with an explanation for the blast.

“They know it was an explosion,” she said. “The only gas we had was the fireplace and that hadn’t been on that day. It was real muggy that day. Matter of fact, I got up in the middle of the night and turned the air on.”

Regardless of what caused the destruction of her home, Elaine said she is focusing on the things – namely family- that remain.

“(John) is still hurting and he can’t hardly bend his elbows, but he’s okay,” she said. “But it is hard. We don’t have anything. I sat up the other night and I thought, ‘I just want to go home.’”

Elaine said, with the combination of family support and help from insurance and the community, she hopes going home will be something she can do in the not-so-distant future.

“We’re just certainly blessed,” she said. “We’re okay, but we appreciate the prayers.”

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