The North Bend Eagle


Home fire
The home of Steve and Lisa Richardson billows with smoke last Wednesday (Dec. 11).
Photo courtesy Ray Wesch.

Another North Bend home struck by fire

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 12/18/13

For the second time in less than two weeks, a North Bend home fell victim to fire.

Though the family lost their home, there were no fatalities reported after this fire. In the previous fire, Nov. 28, Sylvia Slavik lost her live.

The North Bend Fire Department was paged at 8:02 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, to 641 E. Ninth St. Steve and Lisa Richardson reported the house filling with smoke. They and their children, Carter and Delaney, and three dogs, were home when they discovered smoke coming down their stairs.

The children put on their coats and boots and were put in the family car. Steve, who had just finished running on a treadmill, had on gym shorts and a coat. Lisa had her coat and boots to wear. Their house phone was out, but they found a cell phone to call 9-1-1.

Upon arrival, the fire department saw flames coming from the back of the house under the eaves with smoke coming from the eaves at the back door area.
Mutual aid from the Morse Bluff Fire Department, Fremont Rural Fire Department and Schuyler Fire Department were called to help keep firefighting crews fresh in the cold weather and.

North Bend and Morse Bluff made a joint entry into the home. Fire was found upstairs in the attic area, above the ceiling. It was there the process of controlling the fire began. Soon Fremont Rural sent in a fresh team to relieve the local firefighters.

An investigator from the State Fire Marshal’s Office was called in to help. The cause of the fire was traced to wiring in the wall near the back door.

“It worked up the wall into the eaves of the house,” North Bend fire chief Kevin Dubbs said. “The attic was all open and it started burning there.”

Dubbs said the fire traveled the path of least resistance, up the rafters in the attic to an exhaust fan in the roof near the chimney where it started venting itself out the roof.

The official cause was called an accidental electrical fire and there is no dollar estimate for damage at this time.

After staying with friends the Wednesday night, the Richardsons have moved to a hotel in Fremont until they can move to a rental house in Morse Bluff.

On Thursday they went back to the house. They found most the burn damage on the upper floor. Lisa works for Save the Children from a home office that was destroyed, though she may be able to get data off her computer.

The night of the fire a restoration company was arrived and helped board up windows. They returned the next day to see what can be done to salvage anything in the house.

Carter and Delaney, fifth graders at North Bend Elementary, were able to go back to their bedrooms and picked out a few things to clean up. The twins went back to school Friday to a lot of questions.

“There has been a lot of anxiety,” Lisa said, “but they are handling it better than expected.”

The community has responded as a small town does.

“That night our amazing neighbors were there asking what they can do? What can I bring?’ Lisa said.

Lisa’s family, the Limbachs, live in the area and they have been there to help. Friends Autumn Bourek and Lynda Cerney have initiated support and donations.

“People I don’t know have offered,” Lisa said. “It’s a little overwhelming.”
Thursday night the Richardsons went shopping for essentials like socks and underwear. The next morning Lisa was getting dressed when she realized she didn’t have any makeup.

“You don’t realize all the things you use on a daily basis,” Lisa said.

Lisa and Steve think they are a pretty independent family, and have been overwhelmed with the offerings of people.

“Steve was going to take some clothes to the laundromat to wash,” Lisa said. “I told him people have offered, so we let them help. Rick Hobza offered to come get our dishes and wash them. It’s those kind of things – monetary, clothes, places to stay – just really unbelievable support.”

Just four days after the fire there was still a lot of uncertainty for the Richardsons. They are waiting to hear the final report on the fire from the insurance adjuster and the restoration company before they can make any plans on their next move.

“It’s a long road, I’m sure,” Lisa said. “I don’t know what we need now, but then there are things that will come and the people will still be willing to help. That’s our community.”


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