April 19, 2009 in Idaho Voices

Peine family trying to rebuild after fire

Patty Hutchens Correspondent

How to help

A fund to help Chris and Carol Peine and their granddaughter has been set up at Mountain West Bank in Sandpoint. Donations also can be made at any Mountain West Bank branch in Ponderay, Newport, Bonners Ferry, Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene or Spokane Valley. Donations can be mailed to: Mountain West Bank, P.O. Box 399, Sandpoint, ID 83864. Checks should be made payable to the Chris and Carol Peine Benefit Fund.

When Chris and Carol Peine’s 100-year-old farmhouse just south of Sandpoint caught on fire, they were lucky that the Sagle Fire Department responded quickly and extinguished the flames, leaving damage only to an upstairs bedroom, a lower-level wall and loss of very few personal belongings.

That was midday on March 28. The fire crew stayed at the sight for several hours and even returned in the early evening to ensure that the fire had been fully extinguished.

The Peines also checked on the structure several times throughout the day and into the evening before going to sleep in a mobile home nearby. But to their horror, they woke up the next morning to discover that the chimney fire had reignited during the night. By the morning of March 29 the couple had lost not only their home, but also all of their personal belongings.

“This home had a 100-year-history in their family,” said Bill Justus, who is a family friend and also serves as bishop of the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints congregation which the Peines attend. “They moved the old family farmhouse to the current property and had been remodeling it for the last 10 years.”

According to Justus, the Sagle Fire Department had performed an excellent job and did all they could to ensure that the fire had been fully extinguished. But Justus said there must have been an ember between the upper floor’s joist and the ceiling in the downstairs that could not be detected and reignited the fire in the middle of the night. “It is one of those things that just happen,” he said, adding that Chris and Carol Peine feel the same and do not place any blame on the firefighters.

Chris Peine, a retired truck driver, and Carol Peine, an employee at the Bonner County Courthouse are the legal guardians for their 7-year-old granddaughter who has cerebral palsy. According to Justus the girl is confined to a wheelchair and is limited in her motor functions and ability to communicate.

The “Peines are heroes in my book (for the care they give their granddaughter),” said Justus.

With the loss of their home, the Peine family has moved into a mobile home that sits on their property. Justus said the home is in great need of repair, including patching holes and repairing the roof. Members of their church have already volunteered their time and built a wheelchair ramp for the couple’s granddaughter, but there is still much that needs to be done.

Justus said the Peine family would like to remain at the current property and will probably rebuild. But while the home and its contents were insured, it was for minimal coverage.

Contact correspondent Patty Hutchens by e-mail at pattyhutchens@yahoo.com.

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