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Fire-stricken Metolius couple thanks community


A fire that broke out on Dover lane in Metolius just after 2:00 p.m. Sunday caused thousands of dollars in damage and killed two of their cats. Fortunately, the couple who lived there was gone at the time.

Roland and Pam Swearingen said Tuesday they had smelled smoke before they left for a memorial service that afternoon, but thought it was from fires burning in the area.

“My husband started getting phone calls from the various neighbors saying, ‘Your house is on fire!'” said Pam Swearingen. “So we high-tailed it back here — and sure enough, it was.”

When firefighters arrived, neighbors were trying to put the fire out with hoses.

“The neighbors had hoses out and were doing what they could.” she said. “They were thinking that my husband was in the house at the time, which probably normally he would have been.”

As the couple returned from the memorial service, their five animals who had been inside the burning building were on their mind. Firefighters were able to find and rescue three of them, including a cat who is lucky to be alive. Paramedics brought the animal back to life with a small oxygen tube as the Swearingens looked on.

“She started to rally around and opened her eyes, and meowed. I was like ‘Yeah!'” said Swearingen.

As the couple sift through the charred remains of their home, prying open cupboards which were once decorated in family photos, they are trying to remain positive about such a tragic event.

“There is going to be a blessing come out of this,” said Swearingen. “I don’t what it is yet, because God hasn’t shown me that. But it’s just going to turn out for the good.”

Fire investigators haven’t determined an exact cause of the fire but believe it may be electrical in nature, wiring under the front steps. They say the fire caused $33,000 in damage.

The Swearingens they say they are very thankful for all the support the community has given them.

“It has been very humbling and awesome,” said Pam Swearingen. “We are just truly blessed with lots of loving neighbors and friends in this community.”

If you would like to help out the couple, friends and family have set up a Website through the Celebration Church in Bend.

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