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Flat Rock couple trying to rebuild after losing home of 70+ years to fire

Posted at 10:32 PM, Apr 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-26 00:33:32-04

FLAT ROCK, Mich. (WXYZ) — A decades old family home has been destroyed by fire in Flat Rock.

Chuck Smalley says he left the garage after parking his mower, went to grab the mail, and then a neighbor got his attention.

To understand the significance of this, we need to first go back in time.

“We came together in the summer of 48,” says Smalley.

It didn’t take long for chuck to know Mary was the one while he was serving in the military.

“I wrote her letters from there and so forth and come back and a short time after that I asked her if she would be my wife, you know, marry me,” he says. “My dad for a wedding present he gave us that acre and a half lot. We built that in the first year of our marriage, finished the inside ourselves, made the alterations to the blueprint.”

They lived in the Flat Rock home for the past 70 years.

Wednesday afternoon would end that 7-decade occupancy as Chuck went to grab the mail.

“Neighbor across the street said ‘You got a fire!’ reading part of the mail that I got, I looked up and there was these flames in the back of the garage coming up like a torch,” says Chuck.

“I felt real bad because of all the work we had put into it. That was our house. We didn't have a lot of money, but we came through it,” Mary says.

A police officer got 91-year-old Mary out.

The home appears to be a complete loss, but 95-year-old Chuck is steadfast that this was part of a plan.

“As believers we don’t. We believe god has a hand and a purpose. So through it all we will be blessed some way out of it,” he says.

Chuck says the working theory is this lawnmower is somehow the cause of all this.

Though the family did get most important picture memories and documents, and have insurance, they are still without a lot of essentials.

The family has started a GoFundMe page.