Hartland household watches 130-year-old residence burn. However it’s not a tragedy

HARTLAND — A neighborhood household watched their 130-year-old residence burn to the bottom on Hibner Highway final month. They sat in garden chairs.

Firefighters from the Hartland Deerfield Fireplace Authority labored to extinguish the blaze, because the Naismith household served meals to the division and invited 60-80 individuals to observe.

Not like most home fires, this one wasn’t a tragedy. Chris and Kyleigh Naismith donated the house, which as soon as belonged to Kyleigh’s grandparents, to present native firefighters a chance to grasp survival drills, search and rescue strategies, and extinguish strategies.

“We simply invited our family and friends,” Chris mentioned. “A whole lot of the firemen, their households have been all there. We simply made virtually an enormous social gathering out of it.”

The household of 5 lived within the residence for a few yr whereas they constructed a brand new home on the identical property. They moved in after Kyleigh’s grandfather died in September 2022, and her grandmother moved right into a rental. Her grandparents had lived within the residence for greater than 30 years.

“There have been a whole lot of feelings,” Kyleigh mentioned. “There was some disappointment, there was some nostalgia, there was a sense of closure, virtually. My grandfather was the final one to reside in that home … the final time we noticed my grandfather doing properly, he was in that home.”

Kyleigh mentioned they thought of transforming the home, however discovered it might be less expensive to construct a brand new one.

“As an grownup, dwelling in a house, you are not interested by spending time with grandma and your aunts and your cousins,” Kyleigh mentioned. “As an grownup, it’s a must to sort things that go fallacious in outdated houses. So it felt bittersweet — like, ‘Oh, I grew up coming right here on the weekends and spending the evening,’ after which it was like, ‘However the fuse field is from the early 1900s.’”

As a result of the house held so many household recollections, the Naismiths felt donating it to the fireplace division was a extra particular approach to ship it off than demolition.

These sorts of donations are sporadic for the division, officers say — some years a number of houses are donated, however different years firefighters go with out.

“It takes a really particular residence for us to have the ability to get in and get some good high quality coaching in,” mentioned Assistant Fireplace Chief Jake Thompson. “It could possibly’t be in disrepair, or we put our guys at risk.”

However when situations are proper, firefighters can expertise the warmth of a totally engulfed home hearth, in addition to the work that goes into placing it out, in a managed and secure surroundings.

Thompson mentioned the division spent about six weeks coaching inside the house earlier than the precise burn.

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“It gave us an awesome coaching alternative, along with the truth that their home was distinctive in that the unique portion of the house was constructed within the late 1800s and had a number of additions placed on it,” Thompson mentioned.

“So, for me, that is an awesome coaching alternative to have the ability to present the completely different development sorts and the way development advanced through the years. It was a extremely distinctive residence that gave us an superior coaching alternative.”

The house burned at sundown on Saturday, Sept. 23. The household, together with Kyleigh’s grandmother, watched collectively and celebrated the recollections they’d made there.

— Contact reporter Tess Ware attware@livingstondaily.com. Comply with her on Twitter @tess_journalist.

HARTLAND — A neighborhood household watched their 130-year-old residence burn to the bottom on Hibner Highway final month. They sat in garden chairs. Firefighters from the Hartland Deerfield Fireplace Authority labored to extinguish the blaze, because the Naismith household served meals to the division and invited 60-80 individuals to observe. Not like most home fires,…