The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 11, 2013

Funds after fire

Dinner proceeds to help in rebuilding of home

By MARGIE NETZEL - mnetzel@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

JEFFERSON —  The wind howls around the tiny camper on Brown Road, gently rocking the temporary shelter back and forth.

The sway of the camper has become routine for Vicky and Charles Kidd, who lost their home in a fire on Jan. 14. The Kidds now live next to the charred shell of their burned-down home  — a constant reminder of their loss.

“Some days I just don’t have to words to describe how hard this has been,” Vicky said. 

The smoke alarms went off in the Kidds’ home on Brown Road in Jefferson at 3:20 a.m., but there was no smoke in the air, Vicky said, but she peered into the electrical outlet and saw little flickers of fire.

“It didn’t seem like much,” she said, “but we knew, obviously, that fire in the wall was not good.”

With the smoke alarms screaming, Vicky and Charles assessed the situation. Vicky woke up her 4-year-old granddaughter and ran outside for safety as Charles tried in vain to extinguish the fire.

“I got us out the door and turned around and saw that the whole house was full of fire,” she said. “There was nothing we could do — the house was totally consumed. We are honestly lucky to be alive.”

The goal, Vicky said, is to either buy a trailer or build a modular home on the land, so at least they can stay on their property.

The Kidds will host a benefit potluck dinner on March 2 to help raise funds and get them out of the little camper for good. The meal will be held from 5 to 11 p.m. at the Dorset Community Center and will include food, a deejay, raffles, a silent auction and door prizes.

“A lot of local businesses have donated to the raffles and the auction and the door prizes,” Vicky said. “We are so grateful for the support. The community has been so gracious.”

Cost for the dinner is $15 per person for advance tickets and $20 per person at the door. Tickets are available at the Jefferson and Geneva locations of H&R Block.

Vicky Kidd said her house was insured, but only for the mortgage, and didn’t cover the replacement of the house or any belongings.

“When we say we lost everything, I mean we lost everything,” she said. “The insurance adjuster came out and said that there was not an inch of the house that wasn’t touched by fire.”

There is a catch in Vicky’s voice when she remembers her destroyed wedding photos, her family heirlooms and other irreplaceable treasures.

“Of course there are things that we just can’t replace,” she said. “But we believe that God got us out of that place alive. There was no smoke because it was all in the walls. The fire was literally in the rafters. We are just grateful to be alive because it really is amazing that we got out in time.”