Archive for Thursday, May 19, 2005

Fire claims another Eudora home

May 19, 2005

John Born said his son Jordan cleaned the house like a professional in preparation for his graduation party Sunday.

Jordan planned to celebrate Sunday with family and friends following his graduation from Free State High School in Lawrence.

But the venue for the party had to be changed after the house caught fire Saturday night, engulfing most of the structure in flames.

Eudora Deputy Fire Chief Mike Underwood said the fire appeared to have started on the stove when a pan with grease was left unattended on a hot burner.

Born said Jordan had been cleaning the kitchen before he left the house for a few minutes to buy ice for his graduation party.

"He went to get some ice and when he got back the house was on fire," Born said.

He said that when Jordan returned to the house, there was black smoke coming from the front door.

"He grabbed a garden hose and went in and tried to get the fire out," Born said.

Underwood said emergency crews arrived at the house within seven minutes of receiving the call for help. He said hard winds made the fire a difficult one to fight.

"The wind was definitely stronger than usual," he said. "This was a tough fire to fight. I think that our guys did the very best that they could with the circumstances we were facing."

Eudora and Wakarusa township fire departments also responded to the fire for mutual aid.

Jordan received second-degree burns on his arms, but there were no other injuries in the fire. However, the house was declared a total loss.

Born and his sons had recently finished the addition of a new family room on the north side of the house. He said he added the finishing touches to the room Friday night.

"We didn't even get a picture of it," he said. "But I did get to stand in the doorway and say, 'Wow, ain't this pretty?'"

Born said his neighbors had gone the extra mile to help the family deal with the loss of their home. The family has been staying with neighbor Katie Scruggs since the fire. Another neighbor, Angie Hadl, was the host of Jordan's Saturday night graduation party.

Born said neighbors and others from the community had also donated food and money to help the family.

"I am happy and relieved that Jordan wasn't hurt and that all of these people who live next door to me care about us," Born said. "Aside from what it looks like, it's a miracle in disguise. It's brought so much good out of so many people."

The family had lived in the home since 1991, and Born's wife, Cindy, ran a daycare in the basement.

Born said he had good insurance on his house and that the house could be replaced. He had not yet decided whether they would rebuild in the same location or if the family would move.

"We have given some thought to moving, but our neighbors have been so good to us that I don't know if I can leave them," he said.

Cindy is in the process of finding a place to rent temporarily so she can continue to provide daycare services.

Born said the reality of the fire had probably not sunken in, but he was thankful for what was left behind.

"Money and material things have never mattered much to me," he said. "I've got my wife, I've got my kids, and I've got the Lord looking out for me."

How to help

With the Born family's approval, two of Jordan's friends have set up donation boxes throughout Eudora to help the family.

Kayla Flory and Kayla Humbert, both sophomores at Eudora High School, have set up donation boxes at Eudora High School, KWIK Shop and C& S Market. They also plan to put containers at Jasmin's and Dairy Queen in Eudora.

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