Posted 4/12/16 (Tue)
By Kevin Killough
By the couple’s positive outlook, it’s hard to believe Jim and Dinah Footh had their home burn down, along with almost all their belongings.
The Fooths live on a farm southeast of Powers Lake where they’ve been since the early 1980s, when the couple moved back from Washington.
Jim Footh grew up on the farm.
Back in the early 1950s, the farm burnt down. They drove a tractor around the house again and again, soaking the ground with water to try to protect the house from catching fire. That time, everything burned down except the house.
“I guess it was the house’s turn this time,” Jim Footh jokes.
The house fire happened on April 4 at around 8:45 p.m. Jim had built a fire in the stove, and a problem in the chimney caught the whole house on fire.
Dinah said it took less than two hours for it to burn down.
“They had no time to move anything. It just kept getting bigger and bigger,” said Neil Footh, Jim and Dinah’s son.
Since the fire, community support has poured in to help. People created a fund at Liberty Bank. They set up an account at the local Country Store. The Food Barn, a restaurant in Powers Lake, received donations for the Fooths. And the Bethel Baptist Church is pitching in.
“We are just so grateful for all people have done to help,” Dinah said.
The community, including many people the couple has never met, dropped by household items, such as dishes, they can use. Without much space now, Jim and Dinah have been struggling to figure out where to put it all.
Neil said the kindness is a silver lining in his parent’s misfortune.
“It’s made them realize just how much the community helps each other,” Neil said.
Dinah points to two knee-high, charred figures in the rubble of what used to be their basement. They are the remains of a Mr. and Mrs. Santa her mom made.
“It’s things like that that make me cry,” Dinah said.
Despite the sadness of the loss, the Fooths have an impressive knack for counting blessings among the misfortune.
Dinah said this could have happened in the middle of winter with snow on the ground and 20-below temperatures.
She also mentions how many other people in the world have troubles far worse.
There is also the odd coincidence that volunteer firefighters happened to be having a meeting at the fire hall right when the Fooths made the 911 call.
Jim said it was a windy night with embers blowing over the roof of the mobile home where their grandson and his wife live.
It took no time at all for more than two dozen firefighters to arrive on the scene, which probably helped spare the mobile home and other structures on the property.
“That was the Lord working,” Dinah said.
They did manage to salvage a few personal items that were inside a fireproof safe. It included documents such as their high school diplomas and some sentimental items.
Dinah said she’s trying to remain patient and is looking forward to returning to some sense of normalcy somewhere down the road.
This past week she went to a youth class she teaches at the church. People told her no one was expecting her to teach after her loss. All the teaching materials went up in the blaze, and she had no snacks to bring.
But she went anyway, just to begin moving toward the goal of returning to normal.
She said he can’t afford to rebuild the house, but the insurance money will help the Fooths get a mobile home.
She said it will be enough to give them a start at rebuilding their lives.