By Stan Friedman
CONCORD, NH (February 19, 2014) — Covenant minister Earl Dunbar says his family is “basically kind of frazzled” as they start the process of trying to recover from the fire that heavily damaged their home around 1 p.m. last Friday.
It began in the harrowing moments when Earl’s wife, Marcia-Anne, and 15-year-old son, James, tried to put out the fire that started in the laundry room beneath a dryer. They fled as the flames climbed the walls and then spread quickly. Earl was at work when the fire began.
As much as 80 percent of the house was damaged.
The days in the aftermath have been overwhelming at times as the Dunbars start to salvage what is left. Moving from one temporary location to another, they are working with adjustors, seeking possible contractors, and Earl is still going to work.
Their insurance company is pressing them to make decisions about which items they want to try to keep and which ones are not salvageable. “There hasn’t even been time to mourn,” Earl said.
That mourning includes most likely two cats which the family has not seen. The family’s dog and three other cats escaped the blaze.
The Dunbars are trying to focus on what needs to be done each day without looking ahead any further than necessary. “We barely have strength for the day,” Earl said this afternoon.
Though he believes God will provide that strength and help the family through the chaos, Earl said he relates to the father who brought his son to Jesus to be healed in Mark 9, who said, “I believe, help my unbelief.”
The family is grateful for the “wonderful support” they have received, including from the more than 20 people who turned out Tuesday to help Marcia-Anne and James begin to sort through the rubble.
“It was a wonderful George Bailey moment,” Earl said, referencing the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
The family is living at a motel while they begin to search for a place to rent, but they face mounting financial struggles. Most of their personal items were destroyed, and their vehicle already was in desperate need of replacement.
The church Earl served closed four years ago, and he has not found a full-time pastoral position since. The employer at his hourly job had offered him an opportunity to work at home in addition to his regular responsibilities, but that work required a good deal of space, which he no longer has due to the fire.
Although insurance will cover some of their expenses, many costs remain. Anyone wishing to help may contribute online through the East Coast Conference giving site through the Ministers Crises and Care fund. Checks sent to the office should note in the memo line that they are designated to provide assistance for the Dunbars.
Earl is posting updates on Facebook.