Family’s home burned by stovepipe

By: 
KATHLEEN GILLULY
Outlook managing editor

Although she seems to be taking it in stride, the recent tragedy that struck Fastlane clerk, Lura McGarw and her husband, Charles and son, John last weekend would knock anybody for a loop. The McGarw’s home caught on fire and left the family out in the cold, at least for the time being.
“It started with a stove pipe,” McGarw said, explaining what happened. The fire was confined to a small area in the ceiling, but there is water damage left from firefighters’ efforts to put out the blaze. With the cold, everything inside is frozen.
“We have two weeks paid for at the Laurel Ridge motel and then we’ll just go in and shovel it out and see what’s what,” she said. “It’s a big mess.”
The family is purchasing the home on Locust Ave. through a rent-to-own process. At this point, they don’t know if the landlord has any responsibility and they aren’t sure their renters insurance is in force.
“We were working on fixing it up,” McGarw said. “In a way, that’s fortunate because the gas was off.”
But now that all the utilities are off, the former Kentuckian isn’t sure how they will begin the process of getting the house ready to inhabit again.
“There isn’t even water to clean things up,” she said. Firefighters rescued personal items and clothing for the family, so they can make it through the next few weeks.
“A lot of people have offered stuff,” McGarw said. “I really do appreciate it, but if we get clothes, where would we hang them? If we get furniture, where would we put it? I honestly don’t know at this point.”
The McGarws have lived in Montana for about a year-and-a-half after moving from Kentucky.
“We wanted to go fishing. We had done everything we could there so we thought we’d come west,” she said. “We sold the farm, packed up and just ended up in Laurel by accident.”
They quickly found work and Lura is familiar to anyone who frequents Fastlane. While the family is in limbo now, as soon as the temperature rises they plan on getting back into their home.
“It will all work out somehow,” she said.

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