Home severely damaged in blaze

Published 9:50 pm Tuesday, January 5, 2010

On Monday night, Sherry Baier put new sheets on the bed and said a prayer asking God for a new start in 2010.

Just a few hours into the morning on Tuesday, she awoke to a smoke-filled bedroom. The 105-year-old home in the 4000 block of Holland Road, where she and husband Larry had lived for 18 years was nearly destroyed in the fire.

The couple and their dog were the only residents of the home, and all made it out safely.

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According to Debbie George, spokeswoman for Suffolk, the fire department received a call around 3:30 a.m. Firefighters were still cleaning up the wreckage at 10:30 a.m.

A firefighter sustained injuries when he fell down a set of interior stairs; he was transported to the hospital, where he was treated and released.

Baier said she and her husband believe the fire originated from the wood-burning stove they used to heat the home, which had no insulation due to its old age.

“There may have been a hole somewhere in the chimney where the fire came through and burned the wall,” Baier said.

George verified in a press release that the fire resulted from overheating of the walls near the chimney.

Sherry Baier said the home was uninsured and the family lost the vast majority of its belongings in the blaze.

“We were able to grab a few clothes in the laundry basket,” Sherry Baier said. “But these tennis shoes are my only shoes now, and those work boots Larry is wearing are the shoes he’s got, too.”

Baier said Suffolk firefighters helped search for her wedding band and glasses, but to no avail. A firefighter did find a pair of glasses with plastic lenses, which he attempted to clean off, but Baier said they were warped beyond use.

“It’s the little things,” she said. “All my uncle’s paintings he painted when I was little girl are lost. I’ll never take another thing for granted.”

The family has relatives nearby and will temporarily be staying with neighbors.