This is a note of our appreciation to and for our volunteer firefighters.
There is little doubt that the firefighters of Whitingham, Readsboro, Halifax, and Wilmington performed a miracle at 3 am in the village of Jacksonville on Sunday morning, June 18.
Called from their beds they arrived at the fire to find a three-story barn from the 1800s engulfed in flames, with two hysterical women in nightgowns in the middle of the road, each screaming save the house! With one home roughly 17 feet from said barn and the other about 28, the probability of that outcome was minimal.
While the women screamed, flames rose to 50 feet. Ashes flew up and floated throughout the village. Pumper trucks were hooked one to the other. each house was encircled with men, women, and hoses. The timber frame of the barn came into view. Surrounding houses were doused with fire retardant inside and out, then the barn and each house continuously drenched in water. And so this went on for 3 1/2 hours.
As the sun rose, and the blaze diminished, we could see that all trees, all ornamental flowers, and shrubs at the perimeter of the clearing of the houses were singed. Siding melted on the home across the street. Windows were shattered. Roofs melted, powerlines melted, stairs, doors, rafters, and siding turned to charcoal.
And yet the homes stood. Oddly, the American flag on the utility pole waved, untouched.
The battle won. The word miracle comes to mind.
Consequently a pre-Civil War structure that was once the village cobbler shop, as well as another home and a lifetime of memories were saved. These houses standing right now are a monument and testament to their tenacity, dedication, and skill.
When this grateful homeowner and village resident went back into her home, it was evident that the utmost care and respect had been taken with the home and contents. Rather than a battle scene, belongings were virtually untouched, and damage, though sustainable, was minimal, relative to the circumstances.
This event is an ongoing lesson in community bravery and dedication. Of how vulnerable we all are and how much we need each other.
Myself and my husband Brian, our son Connor and his partner Bryanna, as well as the entire Tefft clan, a village, a horse, a flock of chickens, and a half dozen cats will forever be in your debt.
Thank you, thank you, and thank you,