MARK KOBERLEIN

Professor of Interactive Design & Animation at Northampton Community College. Professional pixel pusher and amateur Japan tour guide.

MARK KOBERLEIN

Professor of Interactive Design & Animation at Northampton Community College. Professional pixel pusher and amateur Japan tour guide.

Our 2020 House Fire

by Mark on January 3, 2021

This is a little dated but I thought I would finally post something about the house fire we had last July. Even though I don't like to be too public about my family or personal life, I want this website to be collection of stories about personal and professional life. Also, with the desire to leave 2020 in the past here is something that I should be public about so that I can continue to move on from it.

The following is a post that I made on Facebook for family and friends.

As most of you know, I don't usually post a lot about personal and family events on FB, but this one is worthy of one. Last Sunday, we had a major house fire. Thankfully, everyone, including pets are safe. Our neighbor's house suffered water damage on their second floor and smoke damage through the whole house. Thankfully, the firewall held strong, and the roof didn't give way between the two homes.

We don't know exactly when the fire started, but as many have pointed out, the fire started on the roof/chimney and spread from there around 1pm. Melissa and I were out of the house at our nearby gym, and our oldest Emma heard the second-floor fire alarm and got Sarah and Zoe our dog out after seeing a fire around a window in the master bedroom down the hall. Once Emma was outside she called us, and I have never driven so fast without fear to get back home.

I haven't gotten the official report yet, but I think the Fire Marshall is looking at weather-related or fireworks causes near the roof. Melissa and I blame the birds that nest and create kindling inside the top of the chimney. We have had them cleared out in previous years, but something was going on up there because we could hear them through the fireplace since May.

A lot of people saw the fire on the roof before our fire alarm went off which is kind of scary. We aren't happy that it took 15 minutes after our neighbor called 911 for the Firetrucks to arrive, but we are grateful that they were able to take care of the fire before it reached the first floor, the front two bedrooms, and into our neighbor's home. Trying to sleep last night was horrible for everyone, it's hard to fall asleep repeating a bad movie of your house burning away before your eyes. I didn't take a video of the event and only took photos. The only comforting thing to think about is that everyone is safe.

So know we are jumping from nearby hotels until our temporary housing is setup. Thankfully our insurance company has been positive and helpful, and we hope to have a plan on how to move forward over the next couple of days. The kids are spending the next week in Delaware with the grandparents, while Melissa and I see what we can salvage and try to transition to our new home for the next 4 to 5 months while the home is rebuilt. There is hope for the kids' clothes, but the water and smoke damage through the rest of the house gives us very little hope for anything else. It's pretty humbling and surreal to walk away from your house with the only clothes you have is what you are wearing. Melissa and I don't want to think about what was lost and try to look towards the future.

As of today, we are still in our temporary home and watching our home being rebuilt. It's looks like we are moving back in March. When we move back in, I will be happy to have my private office back. Since the house had to be gutted down to the studs, we are taking this oppurtunity to redesign the interior so that it will be a "different" house when we move in. We were planning on staying in this house until the kids finished High School but we are not sure how long we will stay there or when we will move.

So 2020, yet another reason to leave that year in the past and keep moving forward to better things.