By Pat Maurer
Although they are sad over the loss of their home, Doug and Nicole Beavers of Farwell are also very thankful.
They are thankful no one was at home when their house burned November 15. They’re thankful no one was injured fighting the fire. And they are especially thankful for the many, many people in the community who have been there to help them get through this difficult time.
“The fire department was awesome,” said homeowner Doug Beavers, Jr. “They were there within minutes and did everything they could to try and save at least part of the house The living room, kitchen, dining area, children’s bedroom and music room were completely destroyed.
Unfortunately, the home is a total loss with most of the structure burned and the rest of the house and contents spoiled by smoke and water damage. Only a few pictures, damaged by water, and Nicole’s wedding dress were saved.
Surrey Fire Chief Dave Williams said the department was called to the scene, 11749 Stony Creek Drive, at 8:22 p.m. on the 15th. “We don’t know for sure, but we believe the cause is electrical and suspect that the TV router overheated and caught fire,” Williams said.
Firemen were on the scene for four and a half hours. Surrey was assisted by the Clare Fire Department, Mobile Medical Response and the Clare County Sheriff’s Department.
Doug said a neighbor saw flames and called the fire department. Another neighbor called him at Bucilli’s where he is a manager. “I made it there just minutes before the fire department,” Doug said. “There were already flames coming out of the roof. By the time the fire department got there, in only about five minutes, the fire had quadrupled in size.”
Nicole was bowling at the time and the couple’s two youngsters, Aiden, 5, and Harmoni, who is nearly two, were staying with a neighboring family member. “Aiden watched the house burn down,” Nicole said.
“We were lucky Nicole and the kids weren’t at home,” Doug said. “After the kids go to bed around 8 p.m., Nicole usually naps on the couch, near where the fire started. And the kids’ bedroom was totally destroyed.”
Also lost in the blaze was a complete music room including instruments, equipment and recordings by the band “Post.Script.”, which Doug is a member of. “That alone was about a $20,000 loss,” Nicole said. Hanging on a clothesline outside is a band t-shirt, salvaged by one of the firefighters, complete with burn holes.
“We were going to release a new album December 8,” Doug said. “That is on hold now. We will have to start over.”
Doug, a lifelong resident of Farwell, graduated from Farwell High School in 2005. He has worked at Bucilli’s in Farwell for seven years. Nicole, formerly Rehahn, was a lifelong resident of Clare and graduated from Clare High School in 2004. They have lived at the modular home in Farwell for just over two years.
Since the fire, the Beavers have been living with Nicole’s sister. Four adults and five kids in a three bedroom home,” Nicole said. “It’s been a challenge.”
The home was insured, but Doug is still working with the insurance company. “Hopefully we will be able to get things settled and to rebuild there,” Nicole said. As yet there’s no estimate of the total loss.
In the meantime, the community has stepped up to help the family out. “We have gotten tons of clothes,” Nicole said. “Plenty for me and the kids, although Doug doesn’t have much to wear yet.” He wears a size Medium in shirts and a 32×32 pant. Donations are still being accepted at the Surrey Library and at the United Way in Clare.
“People have even contacted us to say they want to help us with Christmas,” Nicole said. “I can’t tell you how much we appreciate all of the help from everyone. It’s been amazing. We can never thank them enough.”
“I just hope that someday we will be able to help someone else out who has gone through this type of thing,” Doug said. “I’ve talked to quite a few people who have lost everything in a fire. You just don’t know what it is like until you have gone through what we have been through. They know.”
The family still needs furniture, bedding, kitchen supplies and all of the miscellaneous things for a household.