After a garage on 11th Street burst into flames early Monday morning, Carmen Schafer, one of the house’s residents, is keeping a positive attitude, glad that it wasn’t worse.
Schafer said her husband woke up around 2:30 a. m. Monday to go to the bathroom when he noticed a pillar of flames shooting out of the garage next to their house.
When the flames were extinguished by 11 a. m. by firefighters in two fire engines and an ambulance, the flames had only damaged the garage and the two cars inside it.
“It’s a blessing, our guardian angel watching out for us, that it didn’t burn down the house, ” Schafer said today. “It could have killed people. Six people live in this house, and there are families next door.
“Somebody could have been killed if it wasn’t caught in time. ”
Havre’s Assistant Fire Chief Tim Hedges said this morning that the fire caused extensive damage to the building and vehicles, though no one was injured.
The fire department is continuing its investigation.
Schafer said the fire has really affected her, not only the blessing of having her family and home spared, but in thinking about others who aren’t so lucky.
As a former smoker in an understandably stressful situation, Schafer said she went to the Zip Trip in Highland Park after the fire to get some cigarettes, and while there, she met a woman named Linda who had lost everything she owned in a fire in 1992.
Listening to Linda’s story of loss and the struggle that followed, Schafer said she thought about her own luck and how she could and should help others that aren’t as lucky.
“It really makes me look at things differently, ” Schafer said. “I feel like being more of a donator.
“Right after my fire in the garage, just going up to Highland Park to listen to her about her fire and her house, about how some people were generous and some people weren’t. It really opened my eyes. Maybe I should change the way I am doing things. It makes you feel so fortunate for what you’ve got. I look at my house differently. I look at my house and my things and I thank god that I didn’t lose them. ”