Sally Findley doesn’t exactly know what happened.
It was last Tuesday, June 22.
It was around 8:45 a.m.
And she was working her regular shift as a server at the Rusty Spurs Cafe in Seymour.
Then she got a call.
“It was my daughter,” Findley explained. “She said to me, ‘Mom, something exploded in the house.’ That’s when I left the cafe and headed straight home.”
What greeted her was a disaster.
There had been a explosion inside her two-story red home at 216 East Summit Avenue.
“When I got there, there still was a little bit of haze in the house,” she explained.
Gone was the back wall of the home’s bathroom at the rear of the house.
Every window on the back side of the house was blown out.
A front window also was blown out.
Everything in the kitchen was upside down, literally. The heavy kitchen table was split in half, sitting on its top. The kitchen cabinets were obliterated.
Even the stairs leading to the second floor were knocked loose. The sliding doors at the home’s rear were popped out.
“We think it was methane gas, a methane-gas explosion,” Findley said. “We’re not certain on that, but that’s what it appears to be. We think the pilot on the oven ignited the methane that was trapped in the bathroom, then there was an explosion.”
The end result is that Findley’s home, which she bought several years ago with her deceased husband, Bob, is a total loss. Even the home’s foundation is damaged.
“It can’t be fixed ... there’s just no way,” she said.
As a result, she and her two teenage daughters, Robie and Shelby, are without their family home.
“I’m just feeling blessed to have them,” Findley said on Thursday afternoon as she, her daughters, three sons and several grandchildren cleaned up the property and began the process of moving personal items out of the home. My two girls and my granddaughter were inside the house when the explosion happened. Had one of them been in the bathroom or the kitchen when it did, then they would have been badly hurt or even killed.”
Fortunately, they were upstairs.
Scared to death, but they were safe.
However, the end result is that Findley last week and this week is in the process of relocating to a new home with her two daughters.
The home wasn’t insured, so financial assistance won’t come in that way.
“We’ll survive,” she said. “We always do.”
But for those who want to help, an account for the Findley family has been established at The Seymour Bank that will help the family during this troubling time. For those not in the area, donations to the account can be mailed to the bank at P.O. Box 248, Seymour, Mo. 65746.
“I’m not asking for help,” a proud Findley said Thursday.
Her daughter-in-law, Kelley Taylor, said any assistance sent to the family will be used to help convert she and husband Keith’s (who is Sally’s son) two-car garage into a two-bedroom, 700-square-foot apartment that Findley and her daughters will call home.
“Sally would help anyone in need, and everyone knows that,” Taylor said. “So many people around here know her from the Rusty Spurs Cafe and know her as always smiling and laughing, trying to make everyone have a good day. I just hope that people here will see that Sally and her girls didn’t have a good day on Tuesday. They had a life-changing tragedy and lost their home.”
Almost eight months ago on Nov. 13, 2020, the Findley family unexpectedly lost their patriarch, Bob.
His loss was sudden and tragic.
“He left us much too soon,” Findley said. “Since that time, I almost feel like that Lil’ Abner cartoon where the character walks around with a rain cloud following them.”
What’s next for her home?
“We’ll clear it out,” she said. “Tear it down.”
Over the next week, she’ll move into her son’s home on Bright Star Lane, east of Seymour, and live upstairs with her daughters while the process to convert its garage into an apartment continues.
“Here at the house (at 216 East Summit Avenue), first we just want to get things cleaned up on the outside, move a lot of things out and get our personal items,” Finley said.
“We’re going room by room, being safe, but it’s a big house, so we have a lot of go through. It’s secure. We have it closed off so people can’t get in, but once we get everything out, then we’ll start tearing it down.”
Throughout last week, family members worked at the home to remove debris and trash from the yard.
Next up is taking the home down.
That process will take time, Findley noted, as some of the lumber will be salvaged.
And what happens to the remaining lot once the home is gone?
“Maybe I’ll raise a turnip garden,” Finley concluded with a smile.
“Seriously, hopefully I can sell it. It’s got two large lots. Maybe when that happens, I’ll be able to recover some of what Bob and I paid for it.”
To help the Findley family, visit The Seymour Bank at 119 North Main Street or either of its other Webster County locations in Marshfield and Rogersville.
“Any little thing you can do will help,” Taylor said.
“I’ll assure everyone that every penny will be used to help Sally and her girls with their new apartment.”