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House fire victims humbled by help
Alan Dyson knows all too well that there's nothing enviable about losing your home to fire.
But when his family's house was gutted this month when a probable electric fire flared in the walls, spread to the attic and destroyed nearly everything inside, he was embraced by neighbors, the Red Cross, family, church and even a caring veterinarian who are making things as painless as they can be after the disaster.
“It hasn't been fun but we have been truly blessed,” he said.
On July 13, a monsoon storm soaked Yuma and knocked out power to many homes, including the Dysons' house near Highway 95 and Avenue 5E. With no power — not just for air conditioning and lights, but for their well pump — Alan and his wife packed up their two little boys, ages 13 months and 5 months, and took them to Dyson's father's home in town.
They were still away when a neighbor, enjoying some cool, early-morning gardening the next day, spotted the fire. Smoke turned her away before she could investigate much, so she asked another neighbor to call the family. The neighbors were frantic and unsure if anybody was inside.
Dyson said it looks like a short — caused when the power kicked back on — sparked the blaze in the wall between the kitchen and the master bedroom. He is extremely grateful that his family was not inside when the fire started.
Very few belongings were salvageable, except for a truck neighbors pushed out of the driveway, some photo albums and a wedding photo that Dyson said a firefighter grabbed off the wall.
Their Shih Tzu dog, Boo, escaped into the backyard and came away uninjured. Unfortunately though, their big black Lab mix, Tyson, has not been seen since before the fire. Dyson said he expects the dog that they raised from a pup will be found in the bedroom where he liked to nap.
Dyson is a pastor at First Christian Church in Yuma. He said the response is a sermon in itself, in action, showing that people — and God — are good. The Red Cross was at the scene before the fire was even out, and people from his church have been generous.
When he took Boo to the vet to make sure she wasn't hurt by the fire, the vet found that she wasn't but that she did have kidney stones, so he discounted the surgery.
His family's needs met, Dyson suggests anybody who wants to help give to the Red Cross or other charities that serve people in crisis, to help others who will come after him.
“I don't know how people go through it without the support we have.”
The Dysons purchased the house about a year ago. The exterior walls are still solid, so with insurance the family can rebuild and refurnish.
Dyson said it was a good house, “and it will be again.”
Hillary Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6857. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSHillaryDavis or on Twitter at @YSHillaryDavis.