By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Norman resident Mickie Bolenbaugh was injured in a house fire earlier this month, but after the outpouring of community support, she and her family were shown the silver lining.
Bolenbaugh was the only one home Feb. 2 when the fire started at 604 Nebraska St., where she lived with her husband, son and two grandchildren. She said she thanks God the fire happened around noon and not at night.
The bedroom that burned was her son’s and grandchildren’s.
“On the morning of the fire, the only one home was myself with the two family cats. Bandit made it out with a cut on his leg and Furby perished from smoke inhalation,” Bolenbaugh said. “I went to the hospital with second-degree burns on my face and arms.”
When Bolenbaugh was able to escape the fire, she ran out barefooted and unconcerned about the freezing weather, she said.
“They took me to the hospital and there was a nurse, not assigned to my care, and heard that I had been brought in without shoes. She went to her car and got some winter boots and socks and gave them to me,” Bolenbaugh said.
After she was treated, the Red Cross put her and her family in a hotel for three days. Then the flood of donations started coming in from everywhere, she said.
“They were coming in different ways that included clothing, money, bath essentials, toys for the twins, beds and furniture for our new residence, kitchen essentials. I cannot even go and list everything. It was so incredible,” she said.
Bolenbaugh said she wanted to especially thank the Red Cross, People Caring for People, Habitat for Humanity, Ashley White and family, Geannie and Everett Wurst, L&A Wrecker, all divisions of city of Norman, the Veterans Center coworkers of her son, Jim and Annette Brown with the McGuire Store and their new landlord Jean.
“There are just so many other people all over that we don’t know but do love,” she said. “I feel like I am leaving out some very important people that just have angel wings and big hearts and a special place in our hearts.”
Bolenbaugh said she also wanted to thank everyone who heard about the fire and sent prayers, donations or just warm thoughts and hugs.
“We love you all. We will never forget the special feeling we felt and intend to return full circle to give back to someone else who may need anything material or even just a hand to hold and a shoulder to lean on,” she said.
Norman Deputy Fire Chief Jim Bailey said Wednesday that the cause of the fire is still under investigation. The blaze was contained to the bedroom and part of the hallway.
Firefighters extinguished the fire in about 10 minutes. Preliminary damage estimates were about $10,000 to the structure and $5,000 to the contents, Bailey said.
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