On Monday, December 22, 2014, Carlisle Fire Company was dispatched to a fire on Abbott’s Pond Road which was initially reported as a chimney fire. Before the fire company arrived, the fire was reported as a working structure fire, automatically sending Houston and Ellendale Fire Company to assist Milford with the blaze.
“I woke up at 2:30 in the morning with flames coming up from the floor,” said Lesa Pusey, who escaped the fire with her husband, Guy, and their pets. “We managed to get out of the house wearing almost nothing. All I had on was my nightgown and my husband had on sweatpants and a t-shirt. We didn’t even have any shoes. I was able to grab my cell phone so we could call 911 and I grabbed two dolls that belonged to my granddaughters, but that is all we have left.”
The Pusey’s, who were renting, did not have renter’s insurance and they lost everything they owned in the fire. Ms. Pusey said they had just opened gifts with family and she had some gifts hidden that she planned to give to them on Christmas day, but all of that was burned in the fire.
When the fire company arrived, they found fire inside the rear of the house in the kitchen with fire directly across from the front door in the back of the house. After gaining access to the second floor, the firefighters found little fire , but found significant fire in the walls and on the exterior. The fire spread across the roof, burning cedar shakes between the metal outside roof material and material attached to the roof joints. Overall, six fire companies assisted in the blaze as Carlisle was assisted by Houston, Ellendale, Frederica, Harrington and Farmington as well as several medic units.
“The Red Cross came after the fire trucks left and gave us two emergency kits plus a gift card so we could go to Walmart and at least get some clothes,” Mrs. Pusey said. “We didn’t have any shoes, underwear or anything so we bought a pair of pants, a shirt, underwear, socks, shoes and a jacket for each of us with the gift card. Everyone has been so nice to us, but it’s hard. We are living with our son who really doesn’t have the room for two extra people.” Mrs. Pusey said that her boss purchased two uniforms out of her own pocket so she could return to work at Lofland Park, where she has been a nursing assistant for 20 years.
Mrs. Pusey says they are trying to find a place to live but it is difficult since they don’t even have furniture to put in a home if they are able to find one. She said the home was heated with a woodstove and that the chimney had just been replaced. According to the Delaware State Fire Marshall, the fire may have started in the chimney but their investigation is not complete yet.
“The worst part is losing all my pictures,” Mrs. Pusey said. “The things we cannot replace are the hardest things to know are gone.”
In order to help their parents, the children of Mr. and Mrs. Pusey have set up a GoFundMe campaign and are requesting donations for the family. The campaign has a goal of $5,000 and donations can be made at http://www.gofundme.com/j7fxpw.
Mrs. Pusey says that she is grateful that she and her husband were able to escape the fire but are not sure where to turn now to begin rebuilding. “I am so grateful to everyone who has stepped forward to help us,” Mrs. Pusey said. “I don’t think I can possibly thank them enough for helping us get back on our feet.”