Friday, October 31, 2014

Home of family new to Ottawa goes up in smoke

By CLINTON DICK, Herald Staff Writer | 1/29/2014

Kody Henry and his family are searching for a new place to live after a fire devastated their home northeast of Ottawa, he said.

“The shock is still, you know ... you don’t really know what to do or where to go,” he said.

Kody Henry and his family are searching for a new place to live after a fire devastated their home northeast of Ottawa, he said.

“The shock is still, you know ... you don’t really know what to do or where to go,” he said.

Henry and his wife, Reannan Phillips, along with their children Kingston, 6, and Grayson, 9 months, lost their possessions, as well as the home they were renting, in a fire Tuesday afternoon. Henry and Grayson were in the home when the fire broke out about 2:40 p.m. Tuesday at 3331 Reno Road, he said.

“We had the wood stove burning,” Henry said. “Basically, it started somewhere above the wood stove in the piping. I just got a little hint of smoke so I went down to the basement of what is a tri-level house. I got down there and I look up by the pipe near the ceiling and the ceiling is on fire. That is when it all broke loose. We got out and called 911 and within 20 minutes it was a burning pile of garbage. We were pretty fortunate.”

Henry and his son made it out safely and there were no injuries resulting from the fire at the home about seven miles northeast of Ottawa. Kingston was at school at the time of the fire, and Phillips had just pulled into work in Olathe when Henry called her to report news of the fire, he said.

The Lincoln-Ottawa-Harrison Fire Department responded, with mutual aid from the Ottawa, Wellsville and Centropolis fire departments. Franklin County Sheriff’s officers and Franklin County Emergency Medical Services, as well as Red Cross representatives, also were on scene.

Though emergency officials were unable to give an exact damage estimate, the house was a total loss, both Dave Gibbs, LOH fire chief, and Lt. Curtis Hall, with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, said. The house had an appraised value of $89,330, according the Franklin County Appraiser’s website. No other structures on the 62-acre property were damaged, Gibbs said.

Henry and his family moved into the home in late November from Colorado Springs, Colo., Ethan Harkness, Henry’s older brother from Kearney, Neb., said. Henry’s family was renting the home from Darrel Gibson, Overland Park, Henry said. The family did not have renter’s insurance, Henry said.

Henry and his family now are living with Henry’s mother, Shawn Wilson, about 1.25 miles from the site of the fire, Henry said. While they lost many of their possessions in the blaze, Henry said, they have been receiving donations to help with the transition.

“We’ve got a lot of clothes donated, so we are getting pretty good to where we can actually change and shower,” he said. “Someone’s got a crib for us and a queen size bed. It sounds like people have got a lot of stuff that they have got to bring down.

“We are just kind of regrouping and gathering up our lives,” Henry said. “ ... We are just waiting around with our kids right now and getting by day by day.”

Harkness set up a donation website for his younger brother on GoFundMe.com The website allows people to make online monetary donations for the family. The current goal for “Kody Henry fire fund” is set at $5,000. The total raised Wednesday afternoon was $995.

“Any and every little bit can help,” Harkness said. “The Knights of Columbus are helping them. The Red Cross had been out there. Anybody who is friends with us or out in the area are the ones doing the physical drop off. This [website] is more for family members who don’t want to mail a big item or just want to mail a check. It is a nice site because there are millions of random people who are willing to help.”

Phillips posted on the site Wednesday afternoon from her Facebook account giving her appreciation to the donors.

“Wow! You guys are amazing,” Phillips’ post read. “You have no idea how thankful we are! I know I already said it once. But seriously this is amazing!”

Looking to the future, it’s all about finding a new home, Henry said.

“Right now, we are just trying to find a place to live,” he said. “I don’t really know where to go from here, honestly.”

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