House fire mars Mother’s Day for Paul and Annette Lane
On Mother’s Day afternoon, May 13, Paul and Annette Lane were working in the detached garage next to their home south of Wasola when Annette headed inside to get them a cold drink. As she approached the door, she thought the house looked strangely dark through the window. Then she opened the door and was engulfed by black smoke that came billowing out. The double-wide home the Lanes had lived in for 20 years – since their previous home burned – was on fire.
She quickly called 911, summoning the Wasola Volunteer Fire Department, whose board Annette serves on. Brixey-Rockbridge VFD and Gainesville Fire Department responded in mutual aid.
Before the firefighters arrived, “Paul had tried putting the fire out with water, but we found out later it was an electrical fire. So the water knocked out the electricity – and that shut off the pump to our well,” Annette said.
Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper Charley Hogue, who overheard the call on the radio, was the first emergency responder to arrive. He used a fire extinguisher until it was emptied. Then he and the Lanes started dipping water from their above-ground swimming pool to throw on the fire.
It’s believed that the fire started in an electrical outlet in the kitchen where a microwave and coffee pot were plugged in. The coffee pot was still on when the Lanes left the house to work outside, Annette said. They don’t know how the fire started, but investigators believe that’s where it started.
The outside of the house doesn’t show the extent of the damage the structure sustained inside, Annette said. “One whole wall is burned out, there’s a hole burned in the floor, the ceiling is burned with holes in it and everything has terrible smoke damage,” she said.
Annette is especially thankful that her husband and other volunteers managed to save some of the things from the bedroom that had been their son Joshua’s before he died in a car crash in 2012. Since then the bedroom “was exactly as it was the day Joshua left,” Annette said, explaining why she was “like a crazy woman” when she thought all her son’s things would be lost.
The Lanes are waiting to hear from their insurance provider whether the modular home will be repaired – or totaled, she said. Until they know what they’ll do next, they’re living with their son Jeffrey Lane and his wife Amber and their children.
The loss of their home comes as the Lanes and their extended family have endured a long run of tragedies, beginning with the loss of their previous home by fire 20 years ago and their son Joshua’s 2012 death at the age of 18. In 2015, Annette’s sister Georgian Anderson and her husband, Morris, lost their home on Arkansas Highway 201 near Pigeon Creek to fire. Annette’s youngest sister died unexpectedly on March 31, and a little over two weeks ago, Georgian’s son (Annette’s nephew), Dakota Ellison, 25, died of injuries suffered in a car crash. Then, last Friday, the family learned that Annette’s oldest sister has been diagnosed with cancer.
“I’m still just numb,” Annette said. Friends and neighbors have offered help, “but we don’t even know what we need right now,” she said.
A list of needed items and ways friends can help will be published later in the Times when the Lanes have had some time to process their situation.