Archive for Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Fire destroys McLouth home

Family ‘humbled’ by community’s outpouring of support in time of need

March 7, 2007

A Feb. 16 house fire along Kansas Highway 16 east of McLouth didn't take long to consume the residence.

Owner Shannon Crouse received a call that his house was ablaze. About 25 minutes later, when he arrived, few boards still were standing.

Luckily for Crouse and his family, concerned neighbors in McLouth took action.

McLouth residents Vicki Keling, Sara Booth, Stacy Stewart, Sandy Walbridge Vicki Bechard, Janna Terry and Annamaria Rainey organized a "fire shower" in the McLouth High School cafeteria.

After last week's home substate boys basketball game, friends gave the family gifts in hopes of getting their lives back together.

"To say the very least, it's been a very humbling experience, and I think it's changed our outlook on humanity and our community," Crouse said. "The shower, it was totally overwhelming."

Shannon and his wife, Susan, and their children, Danny, a senior at McLouth High School; Derrick, a sophomore at MHS; and Faith, a sixth-grader at McLouth Elementary, temporarily are living in a home on Dempsey Road.

Crouse said the house was on the market for sale, not rent, but the owner told him that he would not put the house back on the market until the family was able to move out.

The family hopes to rebuild on its property, which is across from Wildhorse Orchard.

Crouse said fire officials determined that a rusty wood stove pipe ultimately caused the fire at their original home, which he had built in 1994.

The piping, connected to a downstairs wood stove, ran upwards through the house as double-wall piping that is contained within a flue. A connection on pipe rusted out and caused hot flue acids to ignite near an upstairs room.

The family is working to get their lives back together. Crouse said that's been easier because of generous people in the McLouth area.

He compared their situation to the poem, "Footprints in the Sand."

"One set of footprints in the sand and it's not ours even yet," Crouse said. "I'm not sure we would have or would be getting through everything without the help of the community."

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