Local Family Still Struggling After House Fire

Chelsey Barbeau
Chelsey Barbeau

Local Family Still Struggling After House Fire
By: Crystal Britt

MCCLURE, Ill. - Ten days ago a McClure family came home to find their home up in flames.  Now they're living day to day wondering where they'll live an how they'll eat. 
They're are getting some help from the Red Cross and the community.  The Barbeau's tell Heartland News they have insurance, but so far it hasn't come through.  So for now, all they can do is wait.
From the outside, the Barbeau's house looks untouched, but inside it's a disaster.  Kathy Barbeau, her husband and three of their children once called 25714 Market Street, home.  It's now cold and dark.
"Thank God it wasn't night time where we all lost our lives in it," said Kathy Barbeau.
No confirmation from local fire officials yet, but the family says the fire started in a back room...apparently from an electrical problem.
"We got up and left that morning and we came back and I couldn't believe it.  There were fire trucks everywhere," said Kathy. 
"I was shocked.  I was just shocked," said nine-year-old Chelsey Barbeau.
The Barbeau's found shelter in Cape Girardeau motels.  That's where they spent Christmas since the holiday they planned went up in smoke.
"I went in there...seen such a disaster.  I even looked at the tree and all I could do is sit down and cry because everything she had is gone...clothing, everything is gone," said Kathy. 
"I lost teddy bears, pictures of my friends.  I lost a lot", said Chelsey. 
Not much is left of Chelsey's room.  The mattress is nothing but charred springs, and her closet is merely ashes. "It's been tough at times, but all of us together we get through it as a family," said Chelsey. 
Despite the loss, they kept the Christmas spirit.  With the help of generous friends, Chelsey had presents to open.
"Some people in the world they don't care, but lots of people do.  That's your friends and they're around you and they'll help you through anything," said Chelsey. 
Chelsey's mom Kathy said, "You just sit and say, God bless you because that's all you can say."
While so much is destroyed, the Christmas tree in the Barbeau home still stands tall and somewhat bright.  The clock still ticks, and a single white stocking hangs on the fireplace.  All sure signs the family believes of good things to come.
"I hope we get to go home and we get to have a good new year and have fun," said Chelsey. 
With the shell still intact, the family hopes to renovate and live in their home again soon.  In the meantime, they still need help getting back on their feet.  There's a fund set up in McClure.  You can send donations to:
Barbeau Family Fund
P.O. Box 181
McClure, IL 62957