Davidson Family Trust – our story
Our family suffered a devastating fire on the early morning of July 19th, 2013. We were awakened by a few trails of smoke, then barely got out alive with our 4 boys. Just 10 minutes later, our house was engulfed. 45 minutes later our entire house was gone.
God stretched out His hand that day and saved our family, including our four boys, three of whom are disabled with autism. If not for His watchful care, any of our children could have been lost that day. Our 16 year old boy, August, saved our 3 year old, Liam, after I shouted, ‘someone get the baby’. If not for him our little Liam would have been left in his sleep that day. He is a hero in our eyes.
Our fire was so hot, we lost our vehicle that day as well, when it literally melted the tires and the entire front.
For the last 20 years we worked from home, and paid off all our printing equipment, so lost our business that day as well.
Our home was also paid off, which made this a double blow. We had no insurance at the time due to a previous miscommunication with our broker. (not our choice) When we lost our business income that day we did not qualify for a mortgage.
In an instant, we became homeless. All those comforts of home – gone. 27 years of family memories were gone. Photo albums, wedding dresses, wedding rings, baby books, baby’s first teeth, family heirlooms and more all gone. It was incredulous the way the fire ripped through our home. The numbness we felt was enormous.
Our boys were heartbroken at all they lost, including their two cats, “Turtlefoot” and “Mouchi”. Liam our 4 year old cried, “My lego’s are melted, Woody is gone, my house is gone”
The stress on our boys with autism, was difficult. Andrew, our 14 year old says, “I want to go home, I want the same house back.”
Joseph, our 10 year old, with severe autism, repeated over and over again as he goes to sleep, “Joseph get a new house, mighty machine clean up the house, bring all your truck, bring all your house, going to get a new shower, a new stove, a new bathtub, a new floor….” over and over he repeated each day as he fell asleep.
We wanted nothing more than to give them back all they once had.
We went from a 3800square foot home to being instantly homeless. If not for the kind souls that took us in at paulscreek.ca first and then purdonscottages.ca I dare not think where we would be. We have been blessed by the support of people both local and far away that gave us our first emergency relief.
We walked out with the clothes on our back, not even shoes, and spent the first seven weeks living in a camper with no hot water, or phone. But thankful to be alive.
When it turned colder we moved to a cabin with no running water, or indoor toilets, no cell service or internet. Tranquil for a vacation perhaps, difficult when you have no where to return too.
We talked to every builder we could find, trying to find a way to get us back home. Some hung up on us, others never called us back and some were too expensive. After much prayer and discernment we were thankful to Guildcrest Homes in hopes of getting what we need. With a decent, modest home there would be enough space to rebuild our business and have proper space for our boys special needs as they grow, as they may be with us all their lives.
We could never get the home we once had. But a decent 3 bedroom home, for our family and our work, we estimated we needed to raise $189,000 to rebuild on our property.
$100,000-145,000 approximately $15,000-20,000 basement $2000-4000 excavation $10,000-20,000 septic (if needed) $3000- 5,000 well (if needed) permits and fees electrical hookup
When planned fundraisers got cancelled and others forgot our needs we knew we would have to look at alternatives.
We tried multiple things like building a cabin, rebuilding our garage to live in and lastly, tried to move a small home there in November 2013 but that failed when movers backed out of moving it. With winter coming 2013, we knew we needed to get somewhere warm we purchased a trailer. After delays, we finally got settled into our 600 sq foot trailer in January 2014, we had to weigh all our options carefully.
We talked to everyone we could. When our local bank refused to lend to us to build or buy we knew we again needed to reach out further.
It was then our home search began. Months of looking at MLS and listings from Westport to Carleton Place, but our budget so low it was hard to find anything decent.
When we finally found the ‘right’ place at the ‘right’ price (as we knew we couldn’t afford much), we ended up having to get Two Mortgages to make it work. Though thankful to have a home as another winter approached, but now knee deep in debt after having our previous home paid off.
Finally a place for the boys with the space they need. We never raised the money we hoped to raise, but are thankful to be in a warm home for Christmas 2014. Joseph our non-verbal boy with autism still repeats the events of the last year, now it’s, “cabin is cold, have to go to the motel, trailer is cold, have to go to the new house” Boys don’t feel like it’s Christmas here with the house so new and unfamiliar. But we are in a better place now.
We needed a miracle and we got one. We truly believe that God saved us that day for a reason. So many others have THANKED us for our story. I see sometimes our stories reach out farther than we are.
Despite our devastating losses we look at our boys each day and are thankful. People from all around the world have come together to help us.
We are now in Restoration Phase 2:
(which means people have basically forgotten our needs!) There are so many needs around the world, and in our local communities and we are all stretched in so many ways. But, we have no other way to get back on our feet except through the generosity of people like you.
Here is just one list of some basic needs we have to fill still :
1. We now have Missing furniture needed (bookcases, dressers, office equipment & furniture)
2. We have to update the flooring in our house (have to take out old rugs and install new flooring because of the boys allergies) Local Quote: $5000-/+
3. We have to install a main floor bathroom (only one bathroom tucked upstairs in a back corner. My elderly mother cannot visit until we put this in! And four boys and one bathroom, well you get the idea! ). COST approx: $900
4. We still need to restore our main hard drive. It has the rest of our family photos 2007-2013 -all our pre-digital are gone. 🙁 This hard drive also has all our business files to rebuild our business (book files, mailing lists, customer orders and files). COST: $3500-/+
5. Then is the large task of recovering the 300+ salvaged family photo’s we pulled from the ashes, and numerous personal, business and reference papers. Some family heirlooms and precious memories. They have been sitting in bins since our fire. This will take specialized help. COST: Unknown
We are now in Restoration Phase 3: Final 2017
After two years of consultations with builders, and carpenters while working on this home, we have decided to sell this home. Life has a funny way of forcing you into a corner and this seems our last resort to get our boys and my elderly mother into a larger home for their needs. This home of 1200 square feet no longer suits our needs and it is impertinent that we find a larger home ASAP. Relocating will get us into a larger home, cheaper, than trying to build new. Our lives have been on hold for the last year or more with care for my elderly mother and with repairs and upgrades on this home. We still have our photo’s and hardrives to restore as well. Our Original goal of $189,000 is only a fraction of the $750million the fire chief estimated we lost in our fire. With only 29% of that raised we need to reach our goal, that will help us CLOSE this CHAPTER by restoring us to a home that is equal to what we lost, not more.
UPDATE August FINAL 2017
After searching high and low for a adequate home to suit our needs and losing what seemed ideal, our financing fell through. This has forced us to remain in this home indefinitely. We now have to move forward with the repairs, the upgrades and foundation patching that we were hoping to avoid if we could have moved.
We STILL need your help! Yes, it’s been 4 years since our fire now, but we are still only 30% close to our goal. $189,000 seems alot to raise, but we LOST $750,000 in our fire! And we DOUBLE-MORTGAGED to get into this home to end our being homeless, and living in a trailer.
Many forget that four years later we are still purchasing things we lost in the fire. We are SO THANKFUL for all the many donations we got after the fire, but they didn’t include many personal items we lost. Things like power equipment and tools, proper sized clothing for us all, books we lost in the fire we needed back.
Plus after double mortgaging to get into this home, we didn’t expect to have to repair the foundations here, and replace extensive rot in the windows that were covered up when we viewed this place.
Plus our hard drives that need to be salvaged too.
We are so THANKFUL to EVERYONE that have helped. We still need YOUR support!
Here are some ways you can help:
- We desperately need your PRAYERS! It is only by your prayers for God to hear our needs and to find us generous souls that will help us with any amount to get our goal completed.
2. We desperately need your DONATIONS, small or little, to bring us to our original goal of $189,000 (this will get us into a larger home, extensive restoration of our hardrives, and rare damaged papers and photo’s restored.)
3. We need you to SHARE this page with anyone who would be willing to help us.
4. Now you can order from these stores and the profits will go towards supporting our rebuilding too;
With God nothing is impossible!
Please help us NOW with a donation so we can END our STORY in 2017!
Look at how far we have come since our fire. God is good!
Please Share this page, and help others see that there is HOPE after such devastation. Your donations will help us get to the end of our story and help us set up our new home so our tragedy is nothing but a memory.
Thank you! THANK YOU!
Links to News Stories in 2013:
Davidson family Trust Facebook page
Local Article online
Local CTV news story
CTV news story http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=971651
© 2013-2023 Rita Davidson & Davidson Family Trust