A Fire: Followup

By Shamus Posted Saturday Jun 16, 2007

Filed under: Personal 9 comments

Last week I had a post about the fire on Memorial Day weekend that killed my neighbor. Many people expressed sympathies and left kind words in the comments. Thanks again for that.

But I never followed up on that post, which sort of left things hanging. I apologize for that. I’m happy to report that W – Frank’s widow – is doing just fine. She’s taking it quite well. We’re also finding out just how many friends Frank made in his lifetime and how many people he helped. There seem to be quite a few people who knew the man and who were grateful for some favor or help he’d given them in the past. Some have come forward and W has lots of people offering all sorts of help. Frank worked most of his life in the Steel Mill, and years of overtime as a mid-level somesuch, working at union prices, left him well-off enough to retire quite early and amass an admirable collection of vehicles and tools. I claim no knowledge of their finances, but they seemed well-off and W does not seem to be concerned about that sort of business.

The backyard excavation continues. It looks like they’re digging the foundation for a skyscraper right now. I can’t believe they have had to dig up so much land for such a small building, but the garage runoff was apparently Not Nice Stuff and they wanted to make sure they got it all. I’ve been told that all of the landscaping will be restored, just as it was. My wife contributed a few of our flowers to the effort for when the time comes. Again, I don’t know if this is a result of insurance money, Frank’s savings, or the help of friends, but it’s being taken care of.

So W is doing fine. My wife has offered help several times, but W doesn’t seem to need anything. It was a terrible thing to have happen, but the aftermath is about as merciful as one could hope for. If he’d left her penniless, or if their house was consumed, then grim days would be ahead, but his success with people and money have apparently softened the blow.

Thanks again to everyone who expressed concern. Again, I apologize for not following up. I was suddenly reluctant to talk about it, but I’m the one who brought it up in the first place and I should have posted this sooner.

Maybe I’ll post some more of the yard digging later today. Someday the landscaping will be restored, and when that happens I’ll put up some pictures of that as well.

LATER: I should add, I really appreciate sentiments like this. (Which was written before this post.) It does cheer me to know there are still nice people out there.


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9 thoughts on “A Fire: Followup

  1. Matt` says:

    Good to know that the aftermath isn’t too heavy, it would indeed be grim if this left his wife in trouble.

    On a side note, why are there no other comments..
    (Alternatively, why can’t I see the other comments)

  2. GEBIV says:

    Depending on what chemicals were spilled (fuels, solvents) the EPA has some pretty strict requirements about contamination of the soil and possibly groundwater. That can mean quite a large excavation to remove all the contaminated soil.

  3. Dave says:

    Thanks for the follow-up. It’s amazing how people will jump in to help after something like this… Hmmm.. it shouldn’t be amazing.. but it is… maybe comforting is the word. Too bad we don’t respond like this before something bad happens.

    As a note about grief… “W” is likely still mostly in the disbelief “stage” of grief… grief is a life-long process. Early on when help is coming out of the woodworks is usually when the individual is usually using lots of coping mechanisms to make things go well.. it’s farther down the line that things tend to crash on down.. like a wave.. unfortunately, that’s usually when all that help has moved on.

    I’m glad “W” has your wife looking in from time to time. That is what defines a good neighbor. In this selfish day and age it is rare the neighbor that will take that step.

    Please thank her for keeping the positive human spirit up and running.

  4. Gary says:

    I work in EMS and we are taught the five stages of grief are:

    1. Denial : The initial stage: “It can’t be happening.”
    2. Anger : “How dare you do this to me?!” (either referring to God, oneself, or anybody perceived, rightly or wrongly, as “responsible”)
    3. Bargaining : “Just let me live to see my son graduate.”
    4. Depression : “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”
    5. Acceptance : “I know that I will be in a better place.”

    These examples are written from the point of view of a terminally ill patient, but they apply to anyone. She is probably in the denial stage so make sure to keep an eye on her because it will most likely get worse. Also the stages may come in a different order but they are usually all experienced at some point.

    For more information look up the “Stages of Grief” on Wikipedia.

  5. Gary says:

    If some sort of finical support is needed I know I would be willing to kick in some money. Just let me know.
    / \
    \/ G \/
    /\ /\
    / \ / \

  6. ravells says:

    I would (if Frank’s family wish it) at least feel grateful if an English rose were to bloom in the restored garden. I have no idea how hard it is to manage this, but I’m sure I’ll be able to get one there. If that is OK, could you please give me an address to to send one to?

    I am delighted to hear that the family are well off enough to manage through the crisis. In spite of their misfortune, they are very lucky that Frank left his affairs in good order, which is perhaps a lesson to us all.

    All the best


  7. Telas says:

    Thanks for the update. As others have noted, keep in touch with Mrs. W; I suspect she may need it.

    Thanks again for proving that in a selfish and private era, people still care.


  8. Lee says:

    I’m glad to hear they’re doing all right. It’s a shame there aren’t more comments, though…

  9. Julia says:

    Glad to hear your wife is keeping up with W.

    If something comes up and there’s anything your readers can do for W., I think all you’ll have to do is say the word and it will materialize, not immediately, but real-life magic can take a little more time than what wizards do. :)

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