BARRE (CBS) – Four dogs were the only possessions the Clarks were able to save as their home in Barre burned.
“It’s been a long day. It’s pretty surreal,” said homeowner Bernice Clark.
Before 6 a.m. Thursday, a “pop” woke up an adult son who slept downstairs, he smelled smoke and got his parents. Bernice and Steve Clark realized the fire was in the basement.
“I think when I kicked open the plywood on the cellar door it gave it the air,” said Steve Clark.
With the house filled with thick smoke, they ran outside in their pajamas. They could only watch firefighters try unsuccessfully to save the home they built over the past 38 years on Walnut Hill Road.
“We logged our own logs, sawed our own lumber, the whole bit,” said Bernice Clark. “You start walking around thinking about the title to the car or the passport, the pictures.”
People are already working to help the family. Fox Run Kennels is taking care of the four dogs and it’s one place where people are already dropping off donations.
Donations have been left at a relative’s house, and members of the community have started pooling money.
“We grew up in Barre so we know a lot of people. You never know how much people like you until something like this happens and then realize wow,” said Steve Clark.
“We’re grateful that we all got out. In the end it’s just stuff,” said Bernice Clark.
The couple still needs a house to call home.
The family has set up a GoFundMe page. Monetary donations can also be sent Attention: Bernice & Steve Clark, Athol Hospital, 2033 Main Street, Athol, MA 01331