One month ago this week, a massive fire destroyed two homes at 6th Street and 4th Avenue. After a month of insurance paperwork, recovery and community outreach, the lives of victims Kaydee Carnahan, Kortez Franks and Sarah Jones are starting to get back to normal.
Carnahan said she had just talked to her insurance agent earlier this week. While the initial Havre Fire Department investigation concluded that the fire was started in a barbecue on the back porch, Carnahan said her insurance agent disagreed.
“He said it’s an indeterminable fire, ” Carnahan said. “They can’t trace the first spark. He said it didn’t match up with the barbecue. ”
The insurance company is sure about one thing though, the house is too far gone. Carnahan and Franks said that they just plan on demolishing the house and selling the lot while they look for a new house.
Until then, the two are staying in their old apartment again. They had moved out of there and into their new house two days before the fire on June 27. After the fire, the landlord hadn’t rented yet so they went back while they look for a new place.
Sarah Jones said that she hasn’t heard back from her insurance company definitively about the destruction on her house at 603 4th Ave.
While the damage was a little less than Carnahan and Franks’ house next door, at 406 6th St., Jones said that the outlook was similar.
“I’m still waiting to hear back from the insurance company, ” Jones said, “but it looks like it won’t be repairable. It will most likely be demoed and the lot just sold. ”
Jones may not be looking for a new house in Havre too soon. She is getting married soon and may be moving with her fiance to Whitefish.
Until that future is decided, she is still working on getting as much of her life back as she can and appreciates the community doing all they can to help.
While her furniture slowly returns from Overcast Restoration, she said the donations have kept coming.
Jones has received, among other things, clothes, linens, towels and gift certificates for various local businesses. An account at Bear Paw Credit Union is still taking monetary donations to help her. And at this weekend’s Saturday Market, Jones’ friends Tammy Murray and Sharon May will be having a bake sale to help her.
“I’m very blessed to be in a small community where people feel they want to help, ” Jones said.
Carnahan and Franks felt the same way about the reaction from the community, not only here in Havre but in Malta and Phillips County, where Carnahan is from.
“The community here and in Phillips County have been beyond what I’d ever guess, ” Carnahan said.
“It’s amazing what a small community can do, ” Franks added.
They have been receiving donations through an account at Stockman Bank, which they said has been keeping track of who all has donated what — something they appreciate for the ability to thank everyone.
A fundraiser at Pizza Hut, where customers with a coupon had 10 percent of their bill go to help Carnahan and Franks, drew around 150 coupon-carrying customers.
“It’s great to have people that don’t even know you helping, ” Carnahan said. “Just walking around town and people ask us what we need, even at the fair. ”