Crab Orchard family remains positive after losing it all to house fire, vows to rebuild

In the early morning hours of Sunday, Jan. 14 Crab Orchard witnessed a house fire.
The Schmidt family was awakened by their fire alarm and escaped. While they are okay, their home (that they lived in for 14 years) is not.

The fire department arrived in minutes and did their part to extinguish the flames — but unfortunately, it consumed everything.

“Thoughts come and thoughts go but what we choose to focus on is what makes the difference. And for us, choosing to focus on the positives,” said homeowner Aaron Schmidt. “The biggest thing for us is that we’re alive and our family, our children are safe and sound, and that’s what means more than anything else. Stuff can be replaced, people cannot.”

This is the extensive damage caused by a local house fire and now the Crab Orchard family who lost everything here wants to do what they can to rebuild.

Aaron says he’s doing his part to keep focused on what needs to be done. Be strong for his wife and children. Stay positive, keep the attitude of gratefulness and wear that on his heart.

“We’ve got some great friends, people from our church, the community,” he said. “My wife has organized with civil air patrol and she’s gotten some help and assistance through that as well.”

Things that everybody takes for granted, the Schmidt family no longer has.

“We do have a storage facility locally here and we’ve had multiple people reach out for a place to stay temporarily. And then the plan is to tear down what we have and rebuild,” said Schmidt.

According to Aaron, the fire department said there may have been a small crack in one of the gas lines under the house which may have been the source of ignition.

“Once we tear everything out it’s going to have all new lines running so I really don’t think that’s going to be too much of an issue,” he said. “We’ll have that figured out and rectified. That won’t happen again.”

The local general contractor that Aaron does roofing sales for said he would be willing to head that up for the rebuild and Aaron and Amanda will work on getting the loan acquired from the bank. As tough and traumatic as it is, the dad of eight says they can go on after something like this — with the help of faith, family, friends and community.

“Anything helps, it’s greatly appreciated of course and it’s amazing to see the West Virginia culture where people are willing to give of their own, even when they don’t have much to give — just because that’s who we, as West Virginians are,” Schmidt said. “Beyond whatever we’ve ever experienced in life.”

If you would like to help the family — the Child Evangelism Fellowship office in Beckley is a central place to bring items. The Schmidts also have a go-fund-me page…

They hope to have the house rebuilt and be in it by December.

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