STANTON, Mich. – Buddy Bailey stood covered in soot on what is left of his front porch and looked over to the maple tree he married his wife Mey under in October. Now, all he has left is that memory. "That was the one thing I looked for when I went back in the house, was our wedding picture,” said Buddy.
His family has been displaced after their Stanton house caught fire Saturday morning. The home in the 7500 block of West Briggs Road marked the beginning of their life together after they moved in last fall with their seven children.
"You see parts of a baby picture, or we'd seen my kids' baby clothes, things you cannot replace,” said Mey Bailey, Buddy’s wife. “I think anger set in, but my husband said he didn't cut corners. So we've lost everything, but we didn't lose each other or our kids."
Saturday morning, their oldest daughter woke them up screaming, “Fire!”
The Bailey’s said their wood stove started the fire just six hours after Buddy installed it. Buddy said he had to install it because they ran out of propane, tried to keep warm with blankets and a a pellet stove.
“Three months we've been averaging 50 degrees in the house, if we were lucky,” said Buddy.
On top of this, the Bailey’s have no insurance. They bought their home on a land contract with the homeowner but said they were unable to purchase insurance because the deed was not in their names.
However, Buddy and Mey call this fire an accident and do not blame anyone.
"The original homeowner, they built this by hand together," said Mey. "They've lost 25 years of their life of memories, and so we both lost something. We both lost a home."
For now, living arrangements for their children are divided among family members. Their youngest son’s teacher started a GoFundMe account to raise money to help the Baileys rebuild their dream home on their property.
"The pines make a natural fence, the creek makes a nice fence, keeps my kids all in a nice little area, they got some room to run around,” said Buddy. “We'll be fighting to be back here, build a new home for sure."