Salem family finally moves back home a year after their house caught on fire

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The Custers had to move from a hotel to a rental home back to a hotel, all within one year

SALEM, Ohio (WYTV) – Rebuilding after a fire can take time, but one Columbiana County family is rising from the ashes quicker than most.

You wouldn’t believe it by looking at it, but Wednesday will be the one year anniversary a house on New Garden Avenue in Salem caught on fire.

“It was a long year, it really was,” said homeowner Amy Custer.

Amy and Dave Custer had their house catch on fire last year. It ran havoc throughout their home. They had to move from a hotel to a rental home back to a hotel, all within one year.

“When I would go home from work, I’m like, ‘I’m not going home.’ I guess that was the most mental strain on me, not being able to have dinner at your own house or have your family,” Amy said.

Having to move out that same night, both Amy and Dave were told the fire could have been electrical. It was two days after their granddaughter’s birthday, who lost all of her presents.

“That was what was hard. She had only turned two so she didn’t really know she lost them all but we did,” Amy said.

Luckily, no one was hurt in the fire, but it didn’t seem like they were going to get their house back.

“We were contacted by the insurance company and at that time, it was deemed a total loss. I came down and took a look at everything and the bones of the house were solid. So I reported back to the insurance company and said, ‘I’m pretty sure it’s repairable,'” said Paul Finney, with Rainbow International Restoration.

So work began, gutting the whole house. Normally, the process would have only taken six months.

“This one was a little bit unique because of the whole COVID situation,” Finney said. “It was a challenge getting material. Just for example, these decking boards, we couldn’t get treated lumber anywhere. We had to order these boards from North Carolina.”

Making it into an almost brand new home, areas such as the kitchen and the living room.

Two weeks ago, the Custers moved back home.

“Yeah, it was just an awesome feeling of just being home, like, OK, now I’m home,” Amy said.

Amy said she cried. They were able to bring their dog home, who escaped the fire unscathed. They can now have a new beginning.

“You know, we just wanted everything to feel like home again and start fresh,” said Rachael Ames, with Rainbow International Restoration.

“Now, when I actually see a fire, I try to help somehow because people helped me. Because now, I know that feeling,” Amy said.

They received love and support from the community throughout their journey.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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