St. Bernard community lifts up family who lost their home to fire

‘It’s a small village, but we can do a lot for each other.’
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 10:08 PM EDT
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ST. BERNARD, Ohio (WXIX) - A family-of-eight is grateful to be alive after a fire tore through their St. Bernard home last week.

The fire broke out around 11 a.m. on March 15. It started in a microwave, destroyed the kitchen and left the home with smoke damage, the family says.

Therese Byrd says her family lived in the home on Baker Lane their entire lives before the fire destroyed it. She says the family’s faith and the community’s support have carried them through.

“You can’t go home. It’s hard,” Byrd said. “We’re staying at my daughter’s, and my other son’s, and we’ve got so much love and support from everyone waiting on insurance to find us a place, but there’s no place like home.”

Byrd says her 33-year-old son, Adam, has spina bifida and was warming something up in the microwave as part of his usual routine. She says the fire started shortly afterward.

Byrd’s daughter-in-law was the first one to notice, she says.

“It was a miracle the phone kept ringing. God was sending her a message to get up here and check everything out,” Byrd said. “Family is the most important thing. Things do not matter. So, what, I don’t have my house right now. I have my son, and my family and each other.”

All of them escaped safely, together with their dog.

The devastating event has rallied the community together.

“They’re very selfless, always generous,” said Alayna Culbertson, who created an online fundraiser for the Byrds. “Always there for any other member of the community in any way that they need.”

The fundraiser has raised more than $22,000 as of this writing.

“It’s honestly beautiful to see how a small town like St. Bernard can gather and be there so quickly for a family so well known and so well cared for,” Culbertson said. “It’s a small village, but we can do a lot for each other.”

Byrd says the fundraiser eases her mind.

“If insurance doesn’t cover things, or whatever they don’t cover, we know we have something to help,” Byrd said. “God is so good.”

She hopes one day to be able to pay the deed forward.

“It just touches my heart, and hopefully I can pass that on to other people,” Byrd said. “It’s really a miracle.”

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