My mom and dad's house was a century home and the original Powell Dairy farmhouse with beautiful old construction and 5 huge bedrooms. It was a total loss. The only thing they managed to save before the fire was the push mower and my mom's car. Thankfully, both were outside at the time of the fire. Hours after the fire, my friend Missy, her husband Alan and I managed to get most of the pictures and slides out of the house. Alan is a local fire fighter and he went into the house while we sorted through the stuff loading up our vehicles. He also found some of my mom's jewelry. They lost their cell phones, ID's, wallets, purses, credit cards, cash... The local American Red Cross has been amazingly helpful providing guidance and assistance and we are thankful for theirs and everyone's help.
The following day, my husband Lou, brother Peter and friend Alan helped do most of the heavy lifting - salvaging as much from the house as possible. There was not much left. My friend Missy and I spent most of the afternoon removing wet pictures from photo albums we found later.
I have worked as a fire protection engineer in the industrial and commercial property insurance industry my entire 22 year career and it is as if I have been preparing for this moment the entire time. I have been able to assist my parents with their home owners policy and the claims adjusters. They have been in such a daze that most of it just went over their heads. It is a bunch of jibbirish under normal circumstances. It is 1000 times worse under duress.
Now comes the rebuilding - getting ID's replaced, temporary housing, credit cards replaced, utilities shut off, newspaper and mail delivery revised, new vehicle for my dad, permanent housing plans... Very overwhelming.