GARRETT, Ky. (KT) – Early last Sunday morning, Blaine DePoy got out of bed, made a pot of coffee and started reading the Bible in preparation for services at his country church, Garrett First Baptist.
He’d been up for about two hours, when he heard an unusual noise.
“It was almost like things falling in sequence,” he remembered.
He has two house dogs and figured maybe it was from them. Then he saw one of them sprawled out on the couch.
“Then I heard something else and thought, ‘That was an odd noise.’’’
DePoy, who was in his downstairs study since 4 a.m., went up the stairs to investigate and, despite it being 5:45 in the morning and not yet light outside, “there was something brighter that shouldn’t have been there.”
The back of his house was on fire. He screamed for his wife and son to wake up and began filling big bowls with water from the sink. But that wasn’t going to be nearly enough as the flames intensified.
“We were frantic,” he said. “Flames are up to the windows and the glass is starting to crack and pop. I went outside and hooked up the water hose, but I couldn’t get close enough. My 12 x 12 porch was fully engulfed, and it was overpowering me.”
Everybody got out of the house, even the dogs, and DePoy’s 18-year-old son, Wesley, called 911. “I hadn’t even thought about doing that,” Blaine said. His daughter, Hannah, was out of town.
The fire department arrived soon after and then his congregation started showing up to help. They stayed to help the family salvage what they could and many more showed up later in the day.
“They were right there with us in the first hour,” he said. “Later that day, 50 more showed up to clean the rubble. We had a church picnic a couple of months ago. Before you know it, a platter of chicken showed up and we had a second church picnic, since everybody was here.”
The cause of the fire has not been determined, he said.
DePoy, 45, was thankful for the help of them and C.B. Scott, the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s associational missions strategist in the area, and a close friend. Everybody rallied around DePoy’s family, who watched early that Sunday morning as flames lapped the rooftop of his home. KBC Executive Director Todd Gray also called him, offering support and prayer.
“You know,” DePoy said, “we don’t need anything but prayers. Prayers as to where we will be staying the next six to eight months and prayers to rebuild and find the right person to help us. I’ve never had to construct a home.”
For now, the temporary living space is his mother-in-law’s 28-foot camper that they put on his property.
“I’ve been running everything off a generator,” he said. “I’ll be missing my hum and rattle” when they go somewhere else.
DePoy said many have asked how they can help and he said if they want to help him, give whatever they were going to give him to “somebody in their own assembly. There are people with a lot more needs than me.
“All I’m asking for is God’s wisdom and that the contractor we choose is the one that God chooses,” he said.
With his home severely damaged, DePoy worried that his insurance on the house wasn’t enough. But he didn’t realize that two years ago his had tripled the coverage on the home insurance.
“I’m not really an insurance kind of guy,” he said. “She told me later that night. She said, ‘I thought you might be mad.’ I probably would have been if this hadn’t happened.”
Instead, he was thankful for God’s provisions.
DePoy said when he was reading his Bible a few days after the fire, he was studying the life of David. “David went from a palace to a cave! You never know what you’re dealing with until you’ve been there.”
He’s certain of this much: God will take care of him and his family. “The righteous are not forsaken,” he said. “I believe the word of the Lord with all my heart.”
DePoy is a bivocational pastor who owns a sporting goods shop near Prestonsburg. He has been preaching for the last few years at Garrett First Baptist after taking over when the previous pastor became ill.
He became a believer in 1995 after surviving a collision with a train. He was airlifted to the University of Kentucky with a skill fracture and was given little hope to live. God had other plans for him.
“It was on that helicopter that I cried out to God to save me,” he said. “He saw me, I saw him. For a few months, I made these promises to God and then there were things that crept back in. I took my eyes away from what I had promised and what He had done for me.”
However, family members never gave up. They urged him to get back into church, telling him they owed him 10 visits. “I thought, bullcrap, I’ll just pay you. About visit No. 5 or 6 – I was keeping up with them – I heard a train going down them tracks. I don’t remember hearing the preaching, but I sure heard them trains.”
It was a subtle reminder of how God had spared him and the promises that were made.
So 2 ½ years after accepting God’s free gift of salvation, he came forward at the church and followed in believer’s baptism. About a month before that his wife, Angie, was saved. The family has been working in the church in various capacities ever since.
“They (doctors) gave me up to die but He never did,” DePoy said.
His faith remains strong, even in the face of another adversity. His church family, the KBC family and a loving God had wrapped their collective arms around him.
“It’s just amazing for what we could have been facing,” he said. “I’m not angry or upset. I’m thankful.”