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Fire insurance no joke, says victim
NORWAY — For Lynda Proctor, whose home on Sodom Road was destroyed in an electrical fire last Sunday night, the experience is, sadly, a familiar one.
"This is the second time I've been burned out," she said.
This time, there's an important difference.
After the first fire, Proctor was able to rebuild her life using a house insurance payment, but this time around, she didn't feel she could afford the insurance.
As a result, she has no home, and no immediate way to rebuild.
"It would have cost a little under $400 a year, and I couldn't afford it," said Proctor.
She says that she would like others in the community, who might think that they can't afford fire insurance, to learn from her mistake.
"It's important that folks understand the full importance of getting house insurance," said Proctor.
She says that there is always a way to scrape together the money to make a fire insurance payment.
"It's like, collect cans and bottles if you have to," said Proctor. "Do anything you can. Friends are quick to offer their change. Not their dollar bills, but their change."
She notes that most companies take quarterly payments. Proctor said that people should go to any lengths to earn fire insurance money.
"Whatever it takes, I don't care if you have to babysit kids and you don't like kids. Walk dogs, do something. Anything it takes, and that means anything," said Proctor.
"Well, anything that's legal," she amended.
Proctor says that she has been trying to find donated building supplies, but has had a hard time so far.
"I've been asking for building supplies and material donations. I'd go get them," she said. "I would like to build. It's my land. I've got the slab there, and I can build right on my trailer slab."
She says that the effects of the fire have been isolating.
"All of a sudden nobody wants to come around me, speak to me, hang out with me," she said. "This is so discouraging."
The night of the fire has been a terrible memory for Proctor, who hopes that she can salvage a headboard given to her by her mother from the burned structure.
"My dogs, they saved my life," said Proctor.
Her 18-month-old beagle, Sally, "sat on my head and kept licking my face."
Her other dog, an older Lab-Chow mix named Jessie, "has a special little howl he does when fire engines come, and he was doing that, going for the door and then coming back."
The dogs woke Proctor, who smelled smoke, saw flames, and ran out of her home, calling 911 on her cellphone as she exited.
Emotionally, the shock took a toll.
"For the first two days, I thought everything was smoke," said Proctor. "I'd sleep at night, and I'd see the fire. The devastation that people feel, and the emptiness. It's almost unbearable."
Proctor offers advice to those who suffer a tragedy like hers.
"Stick with your friends who are positive," she said. "Believe that the best is going to happen. It's called the blind faith of a child. You have to have it."
Proctor also says that victims of fires shouldn't be afraid to ask for help.
"As far as the money goes, if you have to work with nothing, you have to get word out there somehow and say I need help," she said.
Proctor is keeping a positive outlook herself. She said that she was asked the other day what the best part of the day was.
"I said it's not raining and the sun's out. And my dogs are alive and well. And I feel safe."
And well she should. Right now, she is staying in the home of a friend.
Proctor says that she doesn't worry about her friend suffering the same fate she did.
"She has double fire insurance."