Life is packed with plenty of twists and turns. Usually, when you least expect it.
For the Thompson family (Mike, Becky, and their 3-year-old daughter Evie) one of those life-changing experiences came on Friday, April 28 when their home in Brownsburg’s Hession Fields development went up in flames after being struck by lightning.
The family was home at the time, resting after spending the afternoon taking part in the neighborhood garage sale. Luckily, the Thompsons and their dog Boo made it out safely as flames tore through the home’s second floor.
Firefighters worked feverishly in heavy rains to get the fire under control. Heat melted siding on a neighboring house but did not spread.
“The big picture is that we are all alive and fine,” said Mike Thompson. “You can put a price tag on a piece of furniture and a house but you can’t put a price tag on a life.”
In the emotional and stressful moments that followed, the family says they never needed to ask for help. It just came.
From the firefighter’s efforts to the countless friends, neighbors, and even strangers who offered everything from comfort meals and clothes to pots and pans, even a place to sleep.
“It has renewed my faith in humanity,” said Becky Thompson. “Just when you think everyone is selfish or out for themselves, people come out and they want to help you.”
But it wasn’t just people lending a hand, businesses in Brownsburg also stepped in with their services.
Ella Mae’s Boutique quickly donated an entire wardrobe for Becky and little Evie.
Mimi’s Chic Consignment shop, also located in Brownsburg, offered goods. Restaurants, like Scotty’s Brewhouse and Kroger have donated meals. The list goes on.
Mike Thompson, who grew up in Brownsburg, says he feels lucky to be part of such a strong community.
“It just made me that much more proud and happy and humble,” he said.
The family is staying with relatives until they can rent a home and eventually rebuild. Even though things are moving forward, the memory of that stormy afternoon still haunts them.
“I just remember hearing the boom and then feeling a zap as I opened the fridge,” recalls Becky. “Evie’s movie stopped playing. Next thing, Mike was saying ‘I think we’re on fire.’”
After they all got out, including the family dog, Mike went back inside to grab a few things. That’s when he realized what was really happening.
“The drywall above me on the ceiling started to separate and there was a bright orange glow behind it. The fire was coming through the vents. I said to myself, it is time to go,” he remembers.
As weeks pass, the fire investigation continues, as do meetings with the insurance company. But the shock factor is still there.
The Thompsons have shared photos on social media of the charred frame that used to be their daughter’s bedroom and what remains of Mike’s comic memorabilia display. While they’re all material goods, some things, like Evie’s handmade baby onesie that was signed before Becky’s grandmother passed away, are hard to let go.
“Some things just can’t be replaced,” said Becky.
As they tackle the emotions and tasks ahead, the Thompson family says they are forever thankful for those who have supported them along the way.
“We can’t say thank you enough. I hope to shake every single person’s hand and hug them, I want to do that,” said Mike Thompson.