Advertisement

Archive for Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lawrence family to spend Christmas in motel after losing “perfect little house” to fire

The Burd family's home in rural Lecompton burned down on Dec. 19, 2010. In this video, they show us how flames gutted the inside of their home.

December 23, 2010

Advertisement

Steve and Dottie Burd look over the damage of a recent fire to their rural Lecompton home with their daughter  Lisa. Steve said the cause of the fire may have been some electrical wiring.

Steve and Dottie Burd look over the damage of a recent fire to their rural Lecompton home with their daughter Lisa. Steve said the cause of the fire may have been some electrical wiring.

Steve Burd and his daughter Lisa survey damage from a recent fire to their rural Lecompton home on Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010. Burd and his wife, Dottie, came home on Dec. 19, 2010 to find their house on fire.

Steve Burd and his daughter Lisa survey damage from a recent fire to their rural Lecompton home on Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010. Burd and his wife, Dottie, came home on Dec. 19, 2010 to find their house on fire.

Shortly after her family’s “perfect, little house” burned up, Dottie Regnier Burd stood in the blackened mess and it suddenly hit her.

“We’re not going to wake up here on Christmas morning and have our traditional breakfast and gifts with our children,” she thought.

Dottie, her husband Steve, their children, Michael, 23, and Lisa, 19, had lived in the white house southwest of Lecompton for eight years.

A house has been standing there for almost 100 years. The first one was built by Steve’s grandparents in 1911. That one burned down and another house was rebuilt in 1942. That’s the one that was gutted by flames on Sunday.

When Dottie met Steve, his grandmother was living in the house. Dottie said she remembered going into the house. “It was a house that you felt immediately comfortable in,” she said. She said she thought at the time that she hoped someday to live in the house.

When the chance came, they renovated it from top to bottom, converting the attic into bedrooms for their children.

On Sunday, the family went to Topeka to eat and take in a $2 movie. But the laughs from Will Ferrell’s “The Other Guys” quickly vanished when they found that Lisa’s presents to her boyfriend had been stolen from their car.

They were lamenting about that when they pulled up their long driveway at 1963 E. 175 Road. Steve Burd noticed smoke pouring out of the attic vents.

He called 911 and units from Lecompton, Kanawaka and Wakarusa responded. It took several hours to put out the blaze. Steve said the cause of the fire may have been some electrical wiring.

“We lost everything,” Dottie said, including two pets: a 4-month-old Yorkie and a cat.

Oddly enough, their Christmas tree didn’t burn. And the outside of the house looks fine.

On Thursday, the family picked through the destruction. Dottie found Steve’s wedding band, badly misshapened. Lisa found an embroidery box and a book by C.S. Lewis.

Now the family is staying at the Baymont Inn in Lawrence and waiting for their insurance company to calculate the losses. They said they eventually will rent a house in Lawrence as they rebuild their home. Steve and Michael are plumbers and Lisa has two jobs, working at Hobby Lobby in Lawrence and The Cookie Boutique in Topeka. She hopes to start classes next month to become a medical assistant.

Dottie describes herself as a stay-at-home mom who goes to town twice a week: one day for errands and one for Bible study.

On a piece of paper, she put down some of her thoughts about the fire.

“We were just saying how strange it is to have everything you own in one drawer at the motel. And just a few hours ago, we had a house full of what we thought we needed. We are still so blessed for all we have,” she wrote.

Comments

Wendy magillicutty 4 years ago

I hope red cross has already taken care of the hotel costs and some food vouchers. How does one start a fund for families in need?

annoneemoose 4 years ago

baymont inn? wow, how cool would it be if presents started showing up there.

Twinkletrr 4 years ago

I think sending items to the hotel along with a fund from the city or county would be great. This was my babysitter's brother's home, and it is so sad that tragedy strikes such a good family at a time like Christmas. My prayers go out to the family!

Nanna1 4 years ago

Dottie stated she came to town for Bible Study. Maybe LJW could post the church and a fund could be started through them. What about it can you get us that info? Prayers for love, mercy, grace and God's arms around you and your family. As you said you are blessed because you are all safe. So sorry to hear about the pets, they are always a part of the family and missed greatly. I to am hoping lots of great joy will come to you this Christmas season. People are wonderful because God helps us be that way, and he alone will make things good. Prayers....

David Albertson 4 years ago

"When the chance came, they renovated it from top to bottom, converting the attic into bedrooms for their children."

"Steve said the cause of the fire may have been some electrical wiring."

A proper electrical installation WILL NOT catch fire. It's amazing how people are willing to chance human lives and major property damage to save a few bucks.

It's not worth it. Hire a professional.

Cait McKnelly 4 years ago

After watching "Holmes on Homes", hiring a "professional" is no guarantee. There's every chance they did hire a pro.

skittles2001 4 years ago

The electrical installation was done by a professional with a code inspector out to pass every part of the electrical installation.

Nanna1 - Donations can be sent to the Wesleyan Church on Clinton Parkway or to the Big Springs United Methodist Church.

Porkroll 4 years ago

Could be a time for "skilled Tradesmen" to come together to help one of their own, a man who makes a living with his hands. Hows bout an old fashioned barn raising? The Lecompton - Lawrence version of Extreme Home Makeover? Still a slow time for construction in our area and enough good men and woman could volunteer along with some donations, a new home could be built for this deserving family in their time of need.

overthemoon 4 years ago

I have a garage full of random bits of lumber and leftovers from our renovation that I'd happily donate to the cause.

Wendy magillicutty 4 years ago

Yay skittles! And yay for all the helpful hands. Ignore the "blame the victim" trolls.

RedCrossHealthSafety 4 years ago

Our Chapter provided assistance to this family of four right after this devastating fire. Our condolences go out to The Burd Family on the loss of their two pets, and all their personal belongings. This is absolutely no way to spend the holidays, and our hearts go out to them!

This marks the third fire in just two months for this small community....very, very unusual! But thanks to our donors who allow us to respond and assist these families, we were there, we will always be there.

overthemoon 4 years ago

Kristy - thank you for taking 'being there' as a full time job. The Red Cross is probably one of the best charities in the world.

overthemoon 4 years ago

I have been clearing out closets this week and have a big pile of nice, clean, usable clothing and shoes. If you could post what sizes Mom and Daughter need, I'd love them to go directly to good use.

RedCrossHealthSafety 4 years ago

Overthemoon- Thank you so much for the kind words, and your generosity for this family. I am not sure what sizes are needed, please contact our office on Monday so we can get you some information. Merry Christmas!

annoneemoose 4 years ago

The front desk at Baymont said there's some HUGE stockings there for people to donate presents. At least they'll have something to open tomorrow :D

Commenting has been disabled for this item.