IN THE AFTERMATH
|Scott and Patricia Nadeau.|
DERRY-- As Patricia and Scott Nadeau stood in the entryway of their fire-damaged home Tuesday, they began to sift through remnants of life before last week’s blaze.
Scott Nadeau, an avid fisherman, had lined the hallway between the house and garage with fishing photos and figurines. Though charred, the memorabilia still hangs on the remaining walls of the breezeway at their 386 Island Pond Road home in Derry.
A few photos of the couple’s children sit on the table, now scorched at the edges. The decorative fan given to the Nadeaus at their wedding 19 years ago now dangles from the ceiling, blackened and broken.“It’s heartbreaking,” said Patricia Nadeau Tuesday. “Words cannot explain the pain we feel to see this. It’s just devastating.”
The Nadeaus, with their three children, son-in-law and grandchild, have been staying at a Salem hotel since Friday’s fire destroyed the garage and breezeway.
Lost in the garage are mechanic and carpentry tools Scott Nadeau uses for work and items passed down from the couple’s deceased parents. The rest of the house sustained significant smoke damage, and fire officials have deemed the home uninhabitable. The kitchen will need to be completely overhauled, Patricia Nadeau said.
“When we opened the breezeway door, the vehicle was just all fire and flames. It was engulfed,” Patricia Nadeau said. “You just don’t know what it feels like to see that happen right in front of your eyes. You don’t know the feeling inside.”
The door to the garage had been open and Scott Nadeau said he ran to the driver’s side of the engulfed car to see if he could put it in reverse to roll it out of the building. But the gear shift had already melted away and he said he burned his hand in the process. Patricia Nadeau said there were eight people in the home at the time of the fire, including her adult daughter, her daughter’s fiance and their 3-year-old daughter. The Nadeaus’ other daughters, age 17 and 11, were also home getting ready for school Friday morning. Patricia Nadeau said the sister of her daughter’s fiance had also been visiting from Florida at the time of the blaze.
Everyone made it out safely and gathered across the street at the family’s designated emergency meeting place, she said.
The couple’s 17-year-old daughter saved the family’s two dogs from the house, but sustained frostbite on her feet in the below-zero temperatures. She was transported to Parkland Medical Center for treatment, said her mother.
Officials identified the car as the point of origin for the fire but were not able to determine just what caused the car to ignite.
Patricia Nadeau said neighbors have been helping the family with clothing, toiletries and childcare while everything is sorted out.
“It means the world to us that people came together as a whole to help us,” she said.
It could be two or three months before the family can move back in, she said. But she said there’s no question they will return to the home they bought eight years ago.
“My husband and I saved up for years to buy a house for our family, and we finally did it,” she said. “Am I scared inside? Yes, because the fire scared all of us. But are we going back? Most definitely.