ST. CHARLES, KENTUCKY — Tucked on Railroad Street in St. Charles, Kentucky, is a small house. Signs of life are everywhere, a smiling scarecrow or an empty swing, all serving as a painful reminder for the family that used to live there of what they lost when a fire destroyed their home on Oct. 18.
“It’s been a God experience is what it’s been,” Pamela Saindon, one of the people living in the house, said. “It’s been a God experience.”
Saindon was in the home with her parents, the Ipocks, and four other people the Sunday morning on Oct. 18, when her 6-year-old niece woke her up to let her know the house was ablaze.
“I thank God everyday for her,” Saindon said. “She’s the godsend angel that we were looking for.”
All seven people in the house made it out alive, but most of the belongings, including many mementos of Saindon’s sister, who died five years ago, were gone, victims of the flames.
“Everything that we had that was hers is gone, all sentimental stuff, pictures, everything we had we can’t replace,” Saindon said, tearing up.
But the story does not end there. St. Charles is a small town, with a population of around 300 people. And while townspeople may not be related by blood, they are all family.
“We are a small community, but we are a community that helps each other when someone’s in need,” Dianne Cotton, a community organizer and the wife of the town’s fire chief, said.
“Everybody in this town, we’re pretty much family one way or another, or we was raised as family,” Cordis Ipock, Saindon’s brother, said.
Ipock, also a volunteer firefighter who was at his parents’ home Oct. 18 fighting the flames, said the support from the St. Charles community has been overwhelming, with people donating money, clothes and other essentials, even finding his family a new home.
“They’ve just been there,” he said. “There are very few communities like that anymore.”
For Saindon, while Oct. 18 may have been one of her family’s darkest hours, what’s come since has been anything but tragic.
“Ever since the day that we lost our home, I have not walked around with a sad face,” she said. “I’ve had a smile on my face every day.”
Thanks to a small town with a big heart.
The people of St. Charles has set up an account with Old National Bank – The Ipock Fire Fund – which is accepting donations to help the family.
A large portion of donations will be used to help pay for the renovations in the Ipock’s new home, which is undergoing a remodeling before they can move in.