Local family loses house, gains community

Barnhouse Home— After a fire that took place on Friday, little remains of the Barnhouses’ home, which has suffered severe damage.

A myriad of helping hands filled the front lawn of Ed and Carrie Barnhouse on Saturday afternoon, as the couple attempted to salvage a few of their belongings that were not destroyed in the blaze that engulfed their home the day before.

“Looking at the structure that we once called home seems overwhelming and devastating,” Carrie Barnhouse, Director of Liberty University’s Career Center, said. “As we’ve now sifted through soot and ash and sorted through belongings, we’ve been blessed to find personal belongings and things we never thought would be recovered.”

Ed Barnhouse was asleep on the couch downstairs and was awakened by the family’s Jack Russell Terrier Jackson barking.

“Once awake, he immediately smelled smoke and ran upstairs,” Carrie said. “He saw the flames on the outside of the house shooting across the back door.”

Ed reported the fire to emergency services at 1:44 a.m. Friday. After he called 911, he made several attempts to reach his wife, who was staying with her mother with their three-year-old son Elijah.

“We were having new carpet installed,” Carrie said. “They came and put the padding down Wednesday and all of the bedroom furniture was in the living room and kitchen. We were frustrated that some things had happened with the carpet being special ordered and delayed, and the original plan was that the carpet would have been completed Thursday and all furniture should have been moved back that night.

“As it turned out, it was going to take several more days to complete,” She said. “But that frustration now proves to be a blessing.”

Carrie’s father drove her to the house mere minutes after receiving her husband’s phone call.

“I will never forget the sight I saw as we passed Brentwood Church on English Tavern, and I looked into the neighborhood to see the sky lit up with flames and black smoke,” Carrie said. “I had no idea how bad it would be until I saw it. I started to scream and cry, now realizing the sudden reality we were facing.”

The cause of the fire is still unknown.

Organizations such as Hyland Heights Baptist Church, Thomas Road Baptist Church and Liberty have been instrumental in meeting the couple’s immediate needs since the accident.

“We simply cannot say thank you enough,” Carrie said. “I’ve been trying to keep track of everyone who’s given and donated and shown up and my list has filled up the front and back of an entire page. I want to send thank you notes but I just don’t think I can get to you all.”

Even though the family’s immediate needs have been met, they will need assistance in the future as the Barnhouses begin to rebuild their lives.

“As for how others can help, we have a long road ahead of us,” Carrie said. “We don’t have a place to put furniture and things we’ll need later, but in the weeks and months to come, we’ll certainly be appreciative of the continued support.”

Although the Barnhouses’ lives have changed dramatically the past few days, the couple remains optimistic, focusing on God’s future plans for their life.

“I need you to know something, from the bottom of my heart, God is Sovereign and He is in control,” Carrie said. “What I need you to hear and see is that this does not shake my faith. On the contrary. It makes me all the more realize that our lives — this life — is temporary and our reward and our home is in eternity.”

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