Petrolia waits to see if fire-ravaged home can be rebuilt

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It’s been two long months since Brian and Andrea Blevins lost their home to a fire and they’re still not sure if they’ll be able to rebuild their house in Petrolia.
The Blevins were watching the Petrolia Santa Claus Parade Dec. 7 when they got the call that their Eureka Street house was in flames. The couple had been working for years to renovate the house as they raised and homes-schooled their four children under the age of seven.
After the fire, friends in Sarnia helped the Blevins find a place to stay and donations from the community started pouring in.
Brian Blevins says the month after the fire was “absolute chaos” as every day the children received more toys and candy. But life has returned to some sense of order. “The kids are getting some normalcy in their lives again,” he says. And Blevins, who was off work at Entropex with a knee injury, has returned to his job.
As for the Petrolia home, Blevins says they still aren’t sure if the family will be able to live there again. “They’ve been doing the tear out at the house, bringing everything right back to the studs…it’s ironic since that’s what we started with,” he told The Independent.
The family is now waiting for a structural engineer to examine the home to determine if it is repairable. Blevins adds restorers say it is impossible to put a number on how much a rebuild would cost at this point.
“We’re just hoping with the insurance, one way or another everything gets wrapped up and we can see if we can repair it,” says Blevins.
The family is considering all its options on whether to move back to Petrolia or stay in Sarnia. “We haven’t come up with that answer yet…we’re praying on it, hoping God’s going to lead us in the right direction.”
Until then, the Blevins are still sorting through the mountains of donations from the community and have in turn been able to help out others in need, including a single mother who recently lost her job. “People have just been an absolute blessing.”

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