LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison and his family are still sorting through the aftermath of a July 29 fire that damaged their house in a suburb of St. Louis. Harrison and his two sons were home at the time of the fire. No one was hurt, although one of the family’s dogs was treated for smoke inhalation.
The accidental fire began in the basement before spreading to other parts of the house. The basement also suffered water damage after broken pipes flooded the room with several inches of water.
“Though I’ve been in hundreds of homes and churches damaged by fire and water, it was quite surreal to walk through my own in that state,” Harrison said. “It is also more than an embarrassment that my negligence caused the fire. I had produced sparks working on metal in my workshop a hundred times, but this time I failed to sufficiently assure that nothing was flammable or ignited before I left the room. I take the greatest consolation from the many hundreds of kind prayers and well-wishes which we’ve received. This has tested us beyond anything we’ve experienced as a family over 34 years.
“I’m so grateful we were not injured. It could have turned out very differently,” Harrison continued. “We are already seeing the many blessings. Perhaps the greatest irony is that God blesses and works all for good, even when my failings caused the worst. I thank God for my wife and two sons. I thank God for the marvelous firemen and police officers and their vocations. And I thank God for all who have contacted us and kept us in their prayers. All undeserved blessings.”
Although some possessions can be recovered, the house will have to be gutted and rebuilt due to extensive smoke damage. The Harrisons expect to live in a rental house for the next six to nine months during the cleanup and rebuilding process.
Posted Aug. 18, 2015