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Spotsylvania family still has questions after a fire destroyed their home and killed 25 pets
A banner at the Byrds' home seeks answers. However, the county fire marshal says there's no indication it was arson.
photos by ROBERT A. MARTIN/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 6/16/2012
Marye Byrd lost almost all of her belongings and pets after a fire destroyed her Spotsylvania County home in January.
But somehow, her two digital cameras survived--and with them, about 600 pictures of her pets.
She has photos of Little Byrd, a beagle, romping through the snow. Of Reecee, a shepherd-chow mix, on a picnic table in the backyard. Of cats cuddling with dogs on the couch.
"Those photos represent almost my entire life in that house," Byrd said.
She and her husband, Dennis "Sarge" Byrd, had 20 cats and seven dogs--all rescues--before the fire on Jan. 28. All but two cats perished.
The family is rebuilding their Lake Wilderness home on Dubin Drive and hope it's ready in July. For now, they're staying in a rental in King George County owned by Marye's father. In fact, her father waived his no-pet policy after a friend of Byrd's offered her a Siberian Husky named Balto.
"To help us through the grieving process, to get me out of bed in the morning, to get me out of the house during the day, I really felt we needed a dog," Byrd said. "Balto came to us at the very moment that we needed him the most."
She's supposed to be looking for new furniture but has been more concerned with finding friends for Balto and her young cat Ginger.
"We're partial to any animal that really just needs a home," she said.
LOOKING FOR ANSWERS
Construction on the family's new 1,800-square-foot single-story home is almost finished, but Byrd still has questions about the fire, which occurred on a Saturday shortly after 11 a.m.
In March, a nearby home on Plantation Drive in Lake Wilderness was destroyed by a fire. Just like Byrd's fire, it happened during the day on a Saturday when nobody was home except for pets.
"It's not just me," she said. "It's a lot of people in the neighborhood who really find all of this to be incredibly suspect."
The sign lists a number for her and for the Spotsylvania Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management. Nobody has called her with information, she said.