Firefighters worked diligently to extinguish a fire at the home of James Montgomery in Saline City early Tuesday morning. Jim, who was the only one at home at the time, was not injured. Some cats owned by the Montgomery family also got out safely.
Jim said he'd been cleaning out a closet. He and his wife have been remodeling the house and needed more room for storage. Jim had turned on an electric space heater. He thought he turned the heater off but was not sure after the fire began. He didn't think it was setting close enough to anything to start a fire. Firefighters at the scene had not yet determined the cause of the fire.
The Montgomerys have not had a good month. Jim had back surgery a week ago. His wife lost her job at the AP&S Clinic in Terre Haute a little over a week ago.
The couple, who'd put new cabinets in the house as part of their remodeling project, recently replaced all their furniture. They had considered selling the house in the spring and moving to Florida.
"We've been married 22 years," Jim said standing in the cold with some friends, watching firemen pump water on his house while trying to rip off the smoking, smoldering roof. "Everything we had's in that house. Twenty-two years of stuff, up in flames."
Jim was grateful the home was insured. He was more thankful his family was safe. His adult daughter was being driven to a doctor's appointment by her mother. Jim's 19-year-old son had spent the night at his sister's house.
Jim was asked if he wanted some help.
"Thanks," he said while watching his home burn with sad but determined eyes. "We'll be all right. We got family and our church. They'll take care of us. I want to thank all the firemen for the job they done. They did the best they could."