It has been a little more than five months since a fire near Sherrard, Illinois killed a woman and four children. The woman’s husband, Wayne Viager and their two sons made it out. This weekend, the three moved into a new house just a few feet from where their old home burned down.
The Viager’s new home was all Anna Viager’s idea.
“This is what she wanted, a little wider. I just shrank it to fit three people, instead of five. That’s the only difference and she’s not here to enjoy it,” said Wayne Viager.
Not here, because on March 27th, Anna Viager, their daughter Breana, and three friends, Jessica Harker, Holli Harker, and Cassandra Turner, died when the Viager’s house started on fire.
“You don’t want to imagine what it was like, you don’t. I’m still scared to sleep at night, wake up to that sometimes, that’s something you never forget, never forget, the heat, the smoke, the blindness, then tell me how you sleep,” said Wayne Viager.
Hard to sleep, but yet finding the will to move forward,
“If you can’t move forward you are no worse or no better than what has happened,” said Viager.
Wayne and his two boys rebuilt, just feet from where they lost their wife, mom, daughter, sister and friends.
“Well I own the place and you really can’t leave ‘em,” he said.
The new home has egress windows,
“If anything happens, they know, I teach them in and out daily, everyday and I’m glad they use it. I don’t care if they tear off the screens or nothing, because if something happens this time, they gotta be able to get out,” said Viager.
And in the front yard, five trees are planted, one for each life lost.
“They bloom in the spring. That was spring time when it happened. It kind of gives you peace of mind,” said Viager.
Peace of mind to keep going,
“You gotta push yourself,” he said.
And keeping with him the two, that don’t get to come home.
“With me every day. I still don’t have words for it myself, how I feel, and probably never will,” said Viager.
Viager said he is very thankful for all the help from the community. He said people he didn’t even know helped him build the house. Monday would have been his daughter’s 9th birthday.