Burnin’ Down the House . . .

My oldest daughter’s barn burned recently, incinerating both her car and her husband’s, and catching fire to the house as well. Because the house is over 100 years old (historically noted as the oldest structure in the county), it was not eligible for homeowner’s insurance, so although their mortgage insurance will likely pay off the debt itself, they’ve lost household items from bath towels to bed linens to hand tools to kitchen appliances. If you are of a mind to help, donations can be made via the ChipIn widget above, or you can mail to Lester Smith, PO Box 12, Elkhorn, WI 53121, and I’ll pass your donation along. Photos follow.

This first image is of their autos—the barn used to stand just beyond them. It’s difficult to imagine that about a week ago these were two relatively new vehicles.

As luck would have it, the wind was blowing directly toward the house, so the fire burned most of the addition on the back, as shown here…

…before spreading to the original structure. Although most of the house is brick, the porch burned, as this photo shows…

…and the interior of the upstairs was pretty much destroyed…

…while the downstairs suffered water damage from when the fire department arrived. The house is located in rural Loma, Nebraska (site of the film To Wong Fu, With Love, Julie Newmar), so it took about 15 minutes for the trucks to get there.

Most of my daughter’s animals survived, due to the quick action of her husband, who then spent the night hospitalized with smoke inhalation, due to his heroism. One of their dogs was badly burned enough that they feared she would have to be put down, but the vet managed to rescue her, although she’ll spend the rest of her life without external ears. Unfortunately, all of the African gray parrots my daughter owned as part of her mail-order business perished from smoke. On a brighter note, the bunny she has been tending for her sister now in Germany was the first thing rescued.

Any help you may be able to give would be greatly appreciated…and that includes simply spreading the word, passing this link to your friends.

Thank you for your consideration,



  1. Mike and Jean Brogan

    We will do all we can. Would do better if we could. Our thoughts, prayers and wishes for a better tomorrow go with your daughter and her family.

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