March 26, 2009

Things We Didn't Loose In The Fire

Here are the family photos we are in the process of salvaging from the fire that destroyed my mother in law, Anne and her husband, Gene's home.  It was a fluke that I found them in the debris in the living room.  The roof and upper level of the home had fallen into the living room on the main level.  I found the photo albums while digging through the debris trying to salvage something - anything for them to return home too.  They were on vacation in Florida when the fire started.

Some of the photos had fire damage on the corners, but the image was still intact for the most part.   Who are these men churning ice cream on a hot summer day?  

This photo of Dan's father riding a bronco while on vacation - the bronco was a prop for tourists to have their photo taken riding he bucking bronco.  At first we thought it was a real photo and I didn't know what to be more impressed with the little boy riding the bucking horse or the skill of the photographer.  Later, we found several other photos with the horse in the exact same stance - that's when we realized it was a prop.

The fire fighters were still struggling to extinguish the fire when we arrived - they had been battling the flames for five hours at that point.

We found the remains of six albums and several smaller albums containing photos that could not be replaced if they had burned in the fire.  Photos of Dan and his brothers and sisters when they were little, great grandparents, grandparents, birthdays, holidays, his mother and father in High School - all precious memories caught on film.

Dan's grandparent's in front of their farm house in Northwestern Kansas.  The little girl with the dog is Dan's Aunt Caroline, his father's older sister.  Isn't she cute?
Another photo of Dan's grandfather, Ben.  The little girl is Caroline - we are unsure of the other two gentlemen in the photo.  We'll have to consult Anne and Caroline.

This is what I started with - daunting isn't it?  The photos were covered in sludge from the fire.  Each photo had to be cleaned seperately and then dried.  Once dry they have to be flattened and placed back into new albums to be labeled accordingly.
Their victorian home was built in the late 1800s and was lovingly cared for by Gene and Anne - it was very dear to them and filled with family heirlooms.  It is heart breaking to loose such a landmark for the city and a home to Anne and Gene.  
The kitchen received the least damage - but was a total loss due to smoke and water damage.
Fire fighters still trying to extinguish the flames.
It was the worst fire I have witnessed - but, thankfully Anne and Gene were in Florida and no one was harmed in the fire - a blessing and something we are all thankful for in the face of disaster.


Kathy said...

Oh, I'm so so very devastating.

I'm glad you were able to find some photos and of course, so relieved no one was home.

You and your family will be in my thoughts.

Anita said...

Would you mind telling me how you clean those photos? We have 2-3 tubs full of photos/albums that have soot damage from a fire we had in our home almost 8 years ago and I can't bear to part with them. They're all I have of my children when they were babies (before digitals). Also, can I clean negatives the same way? Thanks so much for any help you can give me!

Thanks for stopping by my blog, too. You have such a beautiful one and I look forward to seeing more!

Lee W - The Way I See It said...

Holy cow!! Did this just happend? You are amazing to take on such a task!