While it's on his route, the mailman skipped over the mailbox at 1708 Zoar Avenue. Perhaps, it was for good reason.
Vinyl siding warped by heat, scorched pieces of wood and soot-covered belongings are scattered about the front yard. Torched remnants of the roof still reach toward the sky, high above the shell of the house that once stood there. A fire Tuesday night around 11 p.m. destroyed the house and damaged two others. Investigators believe the fire started when an ash try on the front porch caught the vinyl siding on fire before reaching the roof. Fueled by strong winds, the fire then reached the neighboring houses on both sides.
Lynn and Bob Davis were sound asleep at the time.
"We kept hearing people [banging] on the door," Lynn Davis said. "And [our neighbors] started ringing the bell saying 'my house is on fire.' We were sleeping in the back bedroom and they were saying 'come on you got to get out.'"
"When you walked out it wasn't just flames, it was the whole thing."
Seven people including two children managed to escape from the three affected houses. While Evansville firefighters were quickly able to put the fire out, they had to ensure that it didn't spread to the nearby houses. What started as a flicker turned into an inferno, Davis said
"I'd say within 20 minutes, it destroyed [the house] completely," Davis said. "The guys behind us called 911. They came and were knocking on doors too. All the neighbors were good about knocking on doors and helping everybody else."
Damaged by water and heat, the Davis' outer wall is now covered in plywood. Five feet away are the soot-covered signs of how a young couple and their two children used to live, sleep and play. There are burned bikes sitting in the drive way, charred bunk-beds visible through the damaged window and a bush that's only burned on one side. As the house now sits in the hands of insurance agents, the irony isn't lost on Lynn and Bob Davis.
The very people who alerted the Davis family to the danger were the very people who lost everything.
"They're young. It's like they're starting out and now they have to start all over again from scratch," Davis said. "You don't know until you lose everything."
Donations can be made at any Sterling Federal Credit Union under the name Heather Rice. Clothing can be donated to Refuge Christian Church in Warrick County.