A Seabrook family that lost their garage to a fire on Saturday also lost memories and irreplaceable items, and are trying to get their lives back on track.

One moment Aimee Eaton and her family were having a normal Saturday, and next thing she knew, nearly a half dozen fire companies were putting out the flames in the standalone garage on Lower Collins Street.

"Nothing was going on and then my neighbor Greg came pounding on the door and said the garage was on fire. He wound up running back towards his house and he told us to get a fire extinguisher. By the time he was back at the driveway ten minutes later, it was coming out the windows of the garage," Eaton told Seacoast Current.

Her car was parked in front of the garage and required a key "push to start." By the time her husband got the keys, it was up in flames, too.

The family - a 9-month-old, three children age 9, 11, and 17, and two dogs - safely made it out of the house.

(L-R) Julianna, Eric and Mason
(L-R) Julianna, Eric and Mason (Aimee Eaton)

House Saved, Garage Lost

The house was damaged by the fire but was not a loss, according to Easton. The exterior of the bedroom shared by two of her kids was damaged and with financial help from Red Cross of Northern New England, they have been staying at a hotel.

"Thank God it didn't spread all through the house. If it was windy like it was the day after, we would have lost the house definitely," Eaton said.

Eaton said that she has no homeowners insurance, and has learned that it's situations like this that show why people have it.

"I know it's horrible. I was working on it, working on getting life together," Easton said. "And I only have liability on my car. It's super tough right now," Eaton said.

Her cousin created a GoFundMe page to help with repairs to the house, including the replacement of windows and the tearing down of what's left of the garage. Eaton also needs to replace the car.

"We're going to try and get a dumpster because that will probably be the least expensive route.  There's not a lot of damage inside, but the siding melted. They had to put a couple holes in the house and rip the insulation out the side. If it had spread to that, the house would have gone right up," Eaton said.

(L-R) Eric, Aimee, Jeremy and Juliana
(L-R) Eric, Aimee, Jeremy and Juliana (Aimee Eaton)

A Lifetime of Memories

Eaton said that her grandparents lived in the modular house, and she has lived there since 2013. It was like a second home growing up, as she attended high school in Epping and lived in Seabrook. Her grandfather passed away in 2015 and her grandmother in 2020.

Many of their belongings, along with items used daily, were stored in the garage.

"I'm a neat freak, so I stored mostly everything in there because it had a storage area," Eaton said. "My husband's tools,  a chest freezer, just everything you can think of that you can store in a garage. The kids' bikes, my family's memories, years worth of stuff."

The fire capped off what has been a difficult year for the family, and donations to the GoFundMe page will help with their recovery.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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