The student news site of Lancaster High School

Eye of the Gale

The student news site of Lancaster High School

Eye of the Gale

The student news site of Lancaster High School

Eye of the Gale

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Rising from the Ashes

A family works to triumph from a tragic fire
A fire destroyed our home.

Your house is on fire! That was the phone call my family and I received five months ago while we were away. A frantic neighbor repeated the horrible news that forever changed our lives last May. Our worst fear came true; losing our home. In this article, I want to share how my family struggled from losing everything in a house fire to the process of rebuilding our lives. It is a story of pain and loss, and hopefully, one that will end in triumph.

The fire occurred on Mother’s Day this year. My family and I were about an hour away from home and had just dropped anchor in Buckeye Lake to go swimming off of my uncle’s boat when we got the shocking call. My mom nearly jumped off of the boat to swim to shore. My mom and stepdad were the first to get home.

“I was just questioning if it was true. Did I leave something on? I was hoping that I would wake up from a bad dream. It dawned on me that this was serious . . . it was bad,” said Kelly Bosch-Johnson.

After the fire was put out.

Our house was a total loss. Multiple township fire departments arrived on scene and raced to do what they could to save our garage.

Our neighbors acted as quickly as they could to help our dogs get out of the garage, run free, and escape the heat from the intense fire.

Meanwhile, my uncle docked the boat, quickly buckled my brothers in his truck, and we rushed to my parents’ side. By the time my parents had arrived at our home firefighters from several nearby townships had already extinguished the worst of the blaze. During the drive, which seemed to last forever, my uncle had directed us children to stay in the truck upon arrival.

From the truck, I saw my mother crying as she walked around from what used to be our home and I knew I couldn’t just sit there in the truck. I jumped out and ran to her. She wrapped her arms around me, and we both fell to our knees in the front yard crying together.

All I could think about was that all my hard work I had put into cheerleading was gone; the medals, the awards. Nothing but charred pieces of ash and metal. The sight of the aftermath was intensely overwhelming. In that heartbreaking moment, all I could do was wonder. What were we gonna do? There was nothing left. Our only possessions were the clothes on our backs.

Before we knew it, close friends, some who lived over an hour from us, arrived to be there in our time of great need. We all stood by together looking at the smoldering ashes and charred mangled mess, trying to analyze the rubble and make out what was what, what we could try to save, and rescue any sentimental pieces of our lives.

My mother tried to suppress her tears while she sifted through where her bathroom would have been and searched for her wedding rings. My younger brothers ruined the only shoes they had by walking through ashes of what was their bedroom, finding burnt football and Pokemon cards as they wiped tears that ran down their faces. My stepdad and others were trying to find keepsakes that would mean something to my mother and keys to vehicles so they could be moved.

I stood by in total shock and disbelief while I looked everywhere in hopes to find something that was mine. All of my medals – gone. All of my softball equipment – gone. All of my clothes – gone. Our lives in this moment had come to a screeching halt.

As the hours after the fire started to pass the question kept arising as to what we were going to do. So much needed done but we could only focus on the present. This was the first of many nights that our family would be separated. My parents both stayed behind at our home walking around in a daze.

Fire aftermath.

“Nothing feels real,”my mom kept repeating.

“How did this happen to us?”

My mom sent us off to relatives for the night and days to follow but she and my stepdad couldn’t bring themselves to leave our property. They insisted on staying, so they dug out our camping tents and made camp inside of the garage that the firemen had successfully saved. None of us really knew what to do, what to think. But we knew that defeat was not an option.

Days passed and we eventually got in touch with a few resources to help our family with immediate needs; clothes, food, a hotel room, and the numbers to agencies that could be of help when the time came to start cleaning things up. We finally got to lay our heads down as a family five days after the fire. My mother explained to us kids what the future was going to look like for our family.

“I wanted to show my children how to have the strength to go through something tragic and not let it break you. I want them to know it’s not the end of the world and that we will be okay.”

We squeezed into a hotel room for over a month. For a while we moved back on our property and lived in a borrowed camper where we struggled to maintain a sense of our own personal space. Later, we stayed with my uncle because we lost the camper.

Since the fire, life has been a roller coaster of emotions and chaos. There have been countless hours of time on the phone with insurance companies, mortgage lenders, and utility companies. The fire created a huge financial burden.

Our family has learned a valuable lesson on maintaining adequate insurance coverage moving forward so if something like this were to ever take place again we will be better prepared and not left with an immeasurable struggle. Nothing has come easy in this process. The bills still continue to come in; the home mortgage still has to be paid even though the walls are nonexistent.

We live differently now. We live knowing that life can change in a moment. We have found and continue to find the will to overcome.
My younger brother said that he has a big wish for the upcoming holidays.

“My hope is that we have our new house built before Christmas because me and my mom have special traditions for the holidays. I want to have a christmas tree in a cozy home.”

Five months later and the trauma of losing our home still lies with us. As we are still trying to pick up the pieces of what we have lost while we rebuild our home on minimal funds and lean on each other for strength and purpose. My mother is strong and determined.

“I won’t give up until you guys are sitting in your own bedrooms again.”

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