The Herald Bulletin

December 2, 2012

Chesterfield family displaced after house fire

Grahams say they're lucky blaze, oxygen tanks didn’t mix

By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — A family of five is without a home after a fire tore through their house Nov. 25.

Derrick and Lyneia Graham lost use of their residence in the 100 block of Lake Street and are staying at a hotel in Anderson.

Lyneia Graham said the blaze started at 10 a.m. in the basement of their home. She said she noticed the fire when she walked by the basement door while she was getting ready to take their three children to visit their grandmother, something they do every Sunday. The Grahams have 2-year-old twins and a 4-year-old.

“I walked by and noticed it was really on fire down there,” Graham said. “So we got out as fast as possible.”

The Chesterfield Fire Department arrived within 10 minutes and the fire was out in another 20, Graham said. She was told by Chesterfield firefighters that the furnace in the basement was the origin of the fire, but the result could have been worse.

There were oxygen tanks in the basement near the furnace. She said firefighters told her that the fire interacting with the compressed oxygen would have intensified the blaze.

“We’re so thankful that didn’t happen,” Graham said. “I feel like we have guardian angels watching us.”

The Chesterfield Fire Department could not be reached for comment.

Derrick Graham said the family had homeowner’s insurance and should be able to recover what they lost monetarily.

Graham said the house could be livable again in as early as two months. Until then, they are staying at a hotel while they wait on a rental home. The inside of the house and basement will be gutted and reconstructed, he said.

The Grahams said they are devastated by the fire, though. Lyneia works at Hoosier Park and is a home health care aide, while Derrick stays at home with the children. While they have insurance, nearly all of their personal belongings were lost.

“It’s horrible,” Lyneia said. “Everything is ruined. It’s crazy. It’s one of those things that you never think will happen to you.”

Find Jack Molitor on Facebook and @J4keSteel on Twitter, or call 640-4883.