Macon pastor's home catches fire after power restored
Thousands of people are still dealing with the aftermath of Irma.
One Macon pastor, his wife, and 8 kids were without power for 3 days, but Nicole Butler spoke with the family on how their world turned dark when the lights finally came back on.
Paul Dziadul is the pastor at Macon's Lake Wildwood Baptist Church.
He also lives in the subdivision on Ahwenasa Trail.
The power was out at his home Wednesday thanks to Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irma. That's when Dziadul and his family of eight were at the church trying to plan how to help the community in the aftermath of the storm that ravaged much of Georgia, Florida, and the Caribbean, also claiming some lives.
When the family returned home from church, they quickly learned that they were the ones in need.
A fire badly damaged their home as the power was restored to the house while they were away, but it came at a price.
The family returned home from church, finding the place they've built so many memories in destroyed.
Dziadul said someone was cooking on the stove when they lost power. They were in the process of cleaning out the refrigerator and freezer and some of the items were left next to the burner.
"And waves of black, horrible black smoke came out and then it hit me, 'The house is on fire,'" Elizabeth Dziadul says.
Pastor Paul Dziadul says the house was a total loss.
"And to walk through this charred wasteland that sort of looks like what it was but it sure isn't, it's just shocking," he says.
But not everything was destroyed, Paul found their wedding album practically untouched.
"It's a little damp, but I think it's going to be OK," he says.
But Paul says he wishes he could bring back something even more precious -- their 12-year-old dachshund, Schnitzel.
He passed away in his favorite chair from smoke inhalation.
"I just hate if I could've just came around that corner, I might've got him," Paul says, burying their beloved family member under a small mound in the backyard.
"A lot of good memories with that little fella," Paul recalls.
Walking through the sludge, Paul searched through the rubble for anything else they could save.
"Look at this -- Jackson's little hand. We got the real Jackson, that's what matters," Paul says.
Checking on the rooms, he was able to find some light in the darkness.
"This isn't too much unlike how they kept their room," he laughs.
He says it's hard not to be positive when he sees so many blessings around him -- his family is safe and the community's love is pulling them through.
"I know what the love of God looks like, what it feels like, and that's exactly what we've experienced," he says.
The family is staying in a friend's home until their house can be fixed.
Dziadul says it could take up to nine months.
He's asking anyone without power to turn their main breaker off so this doesn't happen to anyone else.