Brothers Reflect on Family Home Destroyed in Fire

By: Dave Byknish Email
By: Dave Byknish Email

GROTTOES -- A fire left a family trying to decide how to move forward. They had no insurance on their 130-year old home and now a pair of brothers are trying to figure it all out.

Mike and Roy Breeden grew up in the old Harriston School house. It was built in 1881 and eventually transformed into apartments. Their mother ended up owning it nearly 35 years ago, but that's not where the family history starts.

“I thought this place would be here forever. My grandfather went to school here. It's just something you don't think will go away,” said Mike Breeden.

For more than 130 years, the Breedens' home stood on East Side Highway. Very little work had been done to it during the years and that's why Roy thought the fire could have been caused by poor wiring.

“My feet were hot to where it was underneath of me. I grabbed my dog and my teeth and my phone and got out,” said Roy Breeden.

The fire still continued into the early afternoon when the brothers returned to see if there was anything salvageable. Their mother Jen Breeden, who owned the house, decided to go to work because it was something to keep her mind busy.

The house was uninsured and the Breedens are uncertain about rebuilding.

“I'm sure she would want to, but there's no money for that. We'll make due, we always do. My mom's one of the strongest, best loving people in the world. Anybody that knows here can tell you that. We'll get by.”

You can send donations to help the Breeden family to:

109 Williams Avenue
Shenandoah, Va.
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