By BRIAN BOHNERT
Pamela and Maynard Eatherton had only lived at 533 S. Main St. for less than two months when a grease fire roared through their residence Feb. 11, taking everything they had.
Clothes, furniture, electronics and even toys for their two young grandchildren were lost in what seemed like a matter of minutes.
“I tried for a very short time to put it out,” Pamela said. “I tried to smother it, and put baking soda and flour on it; but, that didn’t help. By the time the fire department got there, the kitchen and dining room were completely gone; the master bathroom was completely gone; and, there was smoke and fire damage to the rest of the home.”
The blaze started shortly after 7 p.m. when a pot of cooking oil burst into flames. Pamela said her husband, who was recovering from back surgery, fell back in his recliner as he was getting up to help her cook dinner. As she was leaving the kitchen to tend to her husband, who was pinned between the chair and the wall, she said she failed to completely turn off the stove’s burner.
“By the time I got him up and walked him to where he could make it to the bedroom, I went into the kitchen and the whole back wall was engulfed in flames,” she said.
With her two young grandchildren sitting just feet away in the living room, she said her first instinct was to get her loved ones out of the house. She initially stayed inside, doing all she could to save her home. In doing so, she suffered minor burns to her arms.
“Hindsight, I know I should have went out with my husband and the babies,” Pamela said. “But, when you first purchase something, you don’t want to give up too easily. You want to save it. You want to salvage it.”
When Fostoria Fire Division arrived on scene, seconds ticked away as firefighters struggled to both shut off electricity to the home and dig out fire hydrants that had been buried by the snow.
“The fire department did a fantastic job, but at first they couldn’t find where the electrical box was to get safely into the house,” she said. “All of that cost precious time.”
Damage to the residence was estimated at $90,000; but, she said the policy with her insurance company will only cover $50,000, leaving her family $40,000 short of the amount needed to fully repair the structure.
To help cover the remaining expenses, a fund has been set up at Huntington Bank for anyone wishing to help the Eathertons recover from their loss.
Lisa Jameson, branch manager for the Huntington Bank on North Countyline Street, said donations in any amount can be made by visiting any Huntington branch and placing money in the “Pamela J. Eatherton” business checking account.
The American Red Cross was called to the scene and assisted the family with money for food and clothing, and a place to stay. Pamela said there is no deadline for when donations for the relief fund will end, and she is thankful to everyone in the community for their support.
“We really appreciate everything and anything (the community) can do for us,” Pamela said.
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