BRIDGEWATER - Though a fire destroyed their home entirely earlier this month, the Hurd family of rural Bridgewater has managed to stay positive.
On Feb. 3, after a fire started in the garage, the Hurds' house was declared a total loss. In addition to essentially all of their other belongings, two of their vehicles were destroyed in the fire, and a third was declared totalled later on. But aside from a few singed hairs, Rebel, Jeff, Maisie and Darby Hurd and their two dachshunds were able to walk away from the fire unharmed.
Despite suddenly losing her home, Rebel Hurd said she's been more shocked than angry throughout the entire experience, and that details are still coming to the surface. For instance, it wasn't until her mother gave them back to her that Rebel realized the pants she had been wearing when the fire occurred were melted.
"I'm a very strong person of faith, and so I don't ask the 'why' questions," Hurd said. "That's not who I am, and so I'm sure that this happened for a reason. We don't always know the path for us, and that's OK."
Rebel Hurd said it was a matter of seconds between everything being fine and the fire getting out of control. She said she initially wasn't too concerned, as all she could see was smoke.
"I did the thing that every single child is taught not to do in elementary school from the fire department: I opened the garage door," she said. "And so the air just fed the fire, and boom. It was huge."
The youngest of the family's three daughters, Darby, an 18-year-old senior at Bridgewater-Emery High School, was the one who calmly called 911 and explained the situation to the dispatcher.
According to Bridgewater Volunteer Fire Department Chief Craig Meyer, the fire started from a grill being used in the garage. Responders from the Bridgewater and Freeman fire departments got to the house, located near the intersection of 268th Street and 437th Avenue, just south of the line between Hutchinson and McCook counties, at 5:22 p.m. on Feb. 3 and were there putting out the fire for about 5 hours. The fire is not under further investigation.
Rebel Hurd said she and her family were relieved when they were told immediately after the fire that they'd be able to come back to salvage some of the items that had been in their basement. But with the burned house's electricity turned off, its sump pump was cut, as well.
"We came back the next day to a flooded basement," Rebel Hurd told The Daily Republic on Wednesday. "So the second day we had a flood, and then the third day we had a blizzard, with a house with no roof."
Though the Hurds lost their home and most of their possessions, people in Bridgewater and others who knew them took it upon themselves to help by donating clothes and other necessary items. As of Thursday afternoon, a GoFundMe page started to help the Hurds had raised more than $16,000.
Friends of the family initially took turns coming over to the Hurds' farm to water their animals. But with no electricity, there was no way to keep the water from freezing, and those friends eventually took the animals to their own farms to care for them.
Rebel Hurd, who preaches in churches across the state, said the experience has made her aware of the network of support she has.
"We had two pastors at the ambulance before we even got out," she said.
After staying first in Mitchell with Rebel Hurd's mother, Sylvia Lee, the Hurds are currently staying in Salem with the son of one of Jeff Hurd's friends. They're putting off moving to a more permanent new home for a few months until their youngest daughter, Darby, graduates from high school.
"Even with the small little things that happened, really, when you're standing in your yard watching your home of 20 years just disappear with fire, we're fine," Rebel Hurd said.