STERLING TOWNSHIP — A couple in Wayne County are struggling to believe they have lost a home to fire for the second time.
The McLains were checking out the damage Friday at their home that burned the day before near Sterling.
They lost a house in the same spot back in the 1980s but they are vowing to bounce back again.
As Mike and Tammi McLain take photos of their burned-out home, it’s hard for them to believe it has happened again: their life turned upside down by fire one more time.
About 24 hours earlier, firefighters struggled to put out the flames along Wheeler Road near Sterling. Some of those firefighters had been at the same spot decades ago when the McLains’ previous house burned.
Now the McLains are left with another loss.
“Oh boy, I was sorry I came home.”
Mike McLain can’t help but get emotional seeing it all. His wife Tammi was inside when the place started filling with smoke.
“It was really scary, Jon. It was really scary,” Tammi recalled.
As firefighters dealt with 12 degree temperatures, she was taken to the hospital for exposure to this smoke and frostbite for being forced into the cold. She’s OK now but after the last fire, both know they have a long road ahead.
“It took us quite a while to come back from that but we’ll bounce back. I’ve been bouncing back all my life. I’ve gone through a lot of turmoil so this is nothing,” Mike said.
In the last fire they lost everything they had. In this fire, the insurance company says the house has to go, but at least they can go through what’s left to see what they can salvage.
“All you can do is just keep trying. No matter how old you are, you just keep going. If you stop, you’re dead,” Mike said.
The fire chief believes it was heat tape to keep pipes from freezing that started the fire under the home.
It is another challenge for the McLains but they are just glad they are OK, even if, once again, their home is not.
“I wonder how many tests we’re going to have to go through sometimes. But we always come through,” said Mike as Tammi agreed.
The McLains have insurance. They say they are in talks with the Red Cross about finding a place to stay. A stranger has already offered to put them up for a bit while they try to bounce back again.