Two Elkhart families heartbroken, without homes after ravaging fire

NOW: Two Elkhart families heartbroken, without homes after ravaging fire


Two Elkhart families are heartbroken and won't be able to sleep in their own beds, after a Sunday afternoon fire ravaged the neighboring two homes.

The fire took three hours and ten different fire crews to battle.

"There wasn't much to see, except for the black smoke that was everywhere. It was very visible, the wind was really whipping things up," says Tom Atkinson, a neighbor.

Smoke filled the area off of Sunset Lane in Elkhart County, while two homes burned to the ground.

"I came home from church, I went in and fixed myself lunch to sit down and eat, and I heard a poof. I looked out the back and there was smoke," recalls Betty Weed, who lived in one of the houses.

But the quick spreading fire took more than just her home, it took memories that she will never be able to replace.

"My husband's ashes. I just lost him two weeks ago, and his ashes were in the house. So I lost those," says Weed. 

She says she's lucky to be alive, after the fire destroyed both her home, and the house next door.

"The young man next door came and said 'get out of the house, get out of the house,' adds Weed.

High winds made it difficult for fire crews to put out the flames.

"The air from the wind was spreading the fire and fueling the fire even more so, and it was working ahead of our attack crews," explains Concord Township Fire Chief Rick Rochford. 

"It was a really hot fire. And with the wind, it just took it," adds Weed.

Fire officials still don't know what caused the fire, and the investigation is ongoing.

But they are thankful that they were able to keep the fire contained to just the two homes.

"Unfortunately, we have some damaged homes, but we have other buildings that have been saved due to their heroic efforts," adds Chief Rochford.

And just two weeks after she lost her husband, Weed knows just how precious life can be.

"Just don't take everything for granted, because it can be taken aware from you immediately," she says. "They're just things. I still have my faith and my family and that's what's going to get me through."

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