Fire Leaves Laceyville Family of Seven Homeless
The cause of the fire that destroyed the Laceyville home of Erik and April Brewer and their five children remains unknown, according to Laceyville’s Goodwill Company Captain Eric Shaffer, who said a state police fire marshal called to the scene is listing the cause as undetermined.
Fire chief Bradley Fassett said the fire was fully involved when firefighters arrived on the scene around 5 p.m. Friday afternoon, April 15. Fassett called for mutual aid from a number of nearby fire companies, which resulted in close to 50 firefighters battling the blaze.
“They didn’t save much of anything,” Fassett said of the Brewers’ losses, adding that the home was destroyed by the blaze.
Just two members of the Brewer family—Brandon, 14, and Ethan, 6—were at home when the blaze broke out and they got outside with only the clothes they were wearing, Ethan with no shoes and Brandon without a shirt.
Erik Brewer said it was likely his home’s stone construction, which prevented a nearby residence just a few feet away, from catching fire. The landmark home, which dates back to the 1930’s, is located just across the Susquehanna River from Laceyville Borough in Windham Township near Donovan Park. Overlooking the river, the beautiful bungalow-style home withstood numerous floods over the years and in 1996 it survived a tornado and flood, which struck within a span of a few months.
In addition to Ethan and Brandon, the other Brewer children include: Hunter, 12, Mia, 3, and Malaya, 16 months. The family is currently residing at the Wyalusing Hotel until they are able to find a home to rent.
Erik Brewer’s mother, Theresa Brewer, also of Laceyville, said the family’s two pet cats, a dog and a turtle survived the blaze, but their fish perished. “Their turtle is currently residing in my bathtub,” she said. Other than the pets, the only items saved from the home were three American Girl dolls.
Theresa Brewer said her son and daughter-in-law plan to rebuild the home and hopefully will be able to salvage much of the original stone from the fire wreckage. Erik Brewer said his home, which once was briefly the residence of his grandparents, was insured. Brewer had recently converted the home’s attic into bedrooms and remodeled the bathroom.
“The people in our community are just wonderful,” Theresa Brewer said. “They’ve been giving them food and clothing,” she said. One family, when they heard that Ethan had lost his shoes in the fire, not only have him shoes, but also gave him baseball spikes and a glove. Sunday when the Brewers left church, they found their car had been filled with food and other items. “When things seem to be at their worst, it’s the kindness of others that makes all the difference,” Theresa Brewer said.
Fassett said fire companies responding to the scene in mutual aid included Wyalusing, Meshoppen, Wilmot Township and Mehoopany at the fire scene, with Wysox standing by the Wyalusing fire hall and Rush Township at the Laceyville hall. There were no reported injuries among firefighters, however, a Wyalusing fire truck became mired in the mud at the fire scene and had to be towed.
A fund has been established for monetary donations to assist the Brewers. Checks should be mailed to and made out exactly as follows:
For the Benefit of the Brewer Family
c/o Wells Fargo Bank
Tunkhannock, PA 18657