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Fire guts family farm house

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By The Staff

There’s no replacing the 1930s wedding dress worn by her grandma, or those school photos that once hung in the family’s office. Gone are the Christmas presents, including her daughter’s new iPod.

But Julia Hutchins is coping with other realities now – like the fact that her daughter doesn’t even have shoes since a Monday morning fire destroyed the family’s two-story home at 1269 Johnson Rd., and most everything in it.

“I’m so lost right now,” she said.

It’s believed an electrical fire started sometime in the kitchen around 5 a.m., according to initial reports from fire officials. Fire and rescue crews couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

“At first, I thought it was the storm warnings,” Julia said, before realizing thick smoke had triggered the home’s smoke-detection devices.

Julia and her husband, Jerry, safely evacuated their two sleeping children – a 7-year-old and their 9-month-old baby – along with their Chihuahua and another puppy. They weren’t able to save much else.

“What the fire didn’t get the water did,” said Jerry, who’s lived in the 1930s farmhouse his grandpa built for more than six years.

Late Monday morning, the Hutchins and a few other family members, including their two other children, sifted through fire-damaged furniture, clothes and relics scattered on the lawn. The oldest daughter found a jacket charred around its edges like an overcooked campfire marshmallow. Their oldest son found a Monopoly game relatively intact.

“It still has all the money in it,” he said.

A tattered quilt, spun by Julia’s grandma, was strewn from a second-story window, which appeared to be blown out by the force of the fire or the pressure from water hoses.

“Look at this,” a family member yelled.

They huddled to sort through a few home photos found among the wreckage. The pictures were gooey around the edges from their exposure to extreme heat, but otherwise undamaged. Julia tried to scrape the burn marks from a photo of her newly born son. She did the same to a picture of her 7-year-old standing next to her birthday cake.

Julia smiled at a photo taken with her husband on the Kentucky Dinner Train.

“He took me there for my birthday,” she recalled, proving that even fire can’t destroy the lifetime of a family’s memories.