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Blaze leaves family homeless

Peabody rallies to organize relief efforts

Staff writer

The president of Peabody’s association of churches and a counselor at the high school are among those organizing efforts to help a family whose home was a total loss after a fire.

Owner David Lewis, 48, made it out of the three-bedroom house at 601 N. Elm St. Monday before it was engulfed. He was unhurt.

Lewis and his wife, Sarah, 46, reportedly are staying in Hesston. Their 15-year-old son Jager is said to be living with a grandparent. The couple also have two grown daughters.

Peabody assistant fire chief Jim Philpott said a breaker box near the kitchen probably ignited the blaze.

Peabody, Florence, Walton, and Burns firefighters were dispatched to the scene at noon and spent more than six hours trying to contain the fire after it spread to the attic.

“It was really hard to gain access,” Philpott said. “The house had been added on to several times and there were two or three roof layers.”

Firefighters ripped holes in the structure’s siding with hooks and poked fire hoses though the openings in an effort to douse flames that were gutting its interior.

But the house could not be saved. The home’s roof sagged and then collapsed an hour later.

Crews were able to retrieve a gun cabinet and a quilt from a back bedroom that didn’t burn, but not much else, said Philpott.

“If anything survived it was probably smoke damaged,” he said.

Hayley Vivone, counselor at Peabody-Burns High, is working with students to help the Lewises.

Nathan Gift, pastor of Peabody United Methodist Church, has spearheaded efforts to assist the family through Peabody’s Association of churches, of which he is president.

“Sarah expressed how humbled and blessed they are for the support from everyone,” Gift said.

Gift encouraged people not to deliver supplies if they want to help because the family has no place to put them.

“Instead, they should wait until a list is posted of what their needs are,” he said.

Peabody Association of Churches also has an account for the Lewis family at Vintage Bank Kansas in Peabody.

Checks may be made out to Peabody Association of Churches with “Lewis House Fire” on the memo line and dropped off at the bank.

Last modified March 11, 2021

 

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