Just before 1:00 pm on Friday, September 14th, my brother, Mark, a music teacher at Lewiston-Porter Middle School, and sister-in-law, Sasha, a chiropractor, received the horrifying news from a neighbor that their home was on fire. While both Mark and Sasha were thankfully at work at the time of the fire, they were devastated upon arrival to see that the house they had been remodeling for five years was surrounded by fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances.
Of the crew members working to extinguish the fire, two firefighters partially fell through the second floor and into the joists after the fire had weakened the floor, which prompted a “mayday” call to evacuate the premises for safety. Thankfully, no one on the scene was seriously injured.
The fire tore through the second floor, destroying their entire bedroom, bathroom and 90% of their clothing. While the fire remained contained upstairs, damage from the floor collapse prevented Mark and Sasha from being able to salvage nearly all of the belongings in their back two downstairs rooms, which were buried beneath the remains of the second floor. Whatever was not crushed was either damaged by smoke, water, or both. Mark lost more than $10,000 worth of personal musical instruments and equipment that he had been collecting for over fifteen years. The entire house will have to be completely gutted and restored once more.
Mark and Sasha are fortunate to have multiple offers to stay with friends and family and will eventually find temporary housing, but are currently at the beginning of a long road back home. Their insurance does not cover the cost to fully replace the contents of the house, but rather deducts for depreciation before paying.
They have managed to remain as positive as possible given the circumstances. As Mark put it, “There are so many things to celebrate. We are here. We are alive. If the fire would have started even six hours earlier while we were asleep, we would not have made it out.” Sasha explained, “It’s difficult to wrap your head around a loss like this until you reach for the simple things like a toothbrush or a pair of socks and realize that you don’t even own those anymore.”
Mark and Sasha are eternally grateful for all those that have already donated in person. Gift cards are coming in handy in helping to slowly replace the basics and quickly reestablish a normal routine as they’ve both returned to work. Many of you have asked how you can help further and after coaxing Mark and Sasha to allow me to write this, here is an opportunity. They and I thank you for whatever you can do.
Maria (Marinaccio) Braun
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