by Susie Applegate
Â Â In the early morning hours of January 3rd, the Budreau family of N. Plains Road was awakened by the shriek of the smoke alarm. The frantic parents, Rita and Hugo, hastily rounded up their eight children and fled the house. â€œMy eyes was running from the smoke and I was coughing so I could barely talk. I kept telling the children get down, bend down, get under the smoke,â€ Hugo said. â€œWe was all coughing by the time we was outside.â€
Â Â The Budreaus drove the three miles from the Arlington house to the fire station in town. Nancy Budreau, 9, said she could see an orange glow from the fire by the time they got to town.
Â Â Volunteers were immediately alerted by the siren and seven men responded meeting the fire truck at the scene of the fire. Unfortunately, it was too late to save the house, but the fire was contained to the immediate area of the house and the outbuildings where Andy Childers stores his honeydew harvesting equipment were completely spared.
Â Â A complete investigation is yet to be conducted, but Fire Chief Lundgren indicated that the cause of the fire was probably faulty wiring.
Â Â Those of you new to Germaine may not be aware that the Budreau family came to us from Biloxi, Mississippi after hurricane Katrina devastated that city. In spite of this new tragedy, Hugo is grateful to Germaine, â€œI tell you, we come here with nothing and you folks opened your hearts and gave us that pretty house to live in and blessed us with all the things we needed. I couldnâ€™t ask for more. I got a job now. Weâ€™ll get on.â€ Hugo Budreau is now janitor and general handyman at Mary of the Immaculate Heart Catholic Church.
Â Â Just before dawn, as the family waited for a report from the firemen, Shaherazade Budreau, 11, told this reporter, â€œI wish we could just keep a place. If it ainâ€™t fire, itâ€™s wind. If it ainâ€™t wind, itâ€™s flood. I spent my whole life going from one disaster to another.â€
Â Â Her mother, Rita, put her arms around the girlâ€™s shoulders and stared at the dawn just breaking. â€œWe got each other. We got out alive, thatâ€™s the thing that matters. Weâ€™re survivors. Weâ€™ll be okay.â€
Â Â The Red Cross has put the family up at the Restinâ€™ Easy for one week. In the meantime, a fund has been set up at the Wilbur County Credit Union and is accepting monetary donations on behalf of the family. Mary of the Immaculate Heart is gathering donations of food, clothing, furniture and household items. Anyone with a three to four bedroom house they would like to rent to the Budreau may contact them through Lucy Charlebois-LaPlante at the library.
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