Faith, family help woman burned in house fire

Janet Kidder
Janet Kidder. (Oct. 26, 2017)

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — A Barry County woman is crediting her family, strong faith and a stranger for helping her recover from the injuries she sustained in a house fire six months ago.

Janet Kidder and her father-in-law were inside their home along M-37 south Hastings when it caught fire the morning of April 26. The cause of that fire is still unknown.

“All I remember is being woken up with the smoke alarm going off,” Kidder told 24 Hour News 8. “The first memory I have was my mom whispering in my ear, “Just lay still. You’ve been in a fire.'”

A man on his way to work that morning helped keep the flames contained with a garden hose before a fire crew could arrive and rescue Kidder, though she was seriously burned. Her father-in-law was not injured.

“I couldn’t exactly tell if it was a house fire but it was enough to make me stop and back that truck up,” Scott Ward, the good Samaritan, told 24 Hour News 8 the day of the fire. “I was able to get about 10 feet into the house and the flames and the smoke was very intense. My glasses fogged up right away so I took them off. I couldn’t see a whole lot more at that point.”

He told 24 Hour News 8 he felt anyone would do what he did if they noticed the flames.

Calls to Ward to see if he wanted to be involved in Kidder’s update Thursday were not returned, but the two had an emotional meeting in August at a benefit dinner for Kidder.

Janet Kidder, Scott Ward
An August courtesy photo of Janet Kidder and Scott Ward.

“I was 30 seconds away from meeting my dad in heaven. That’s how close I was,” Kidder said.

Photos of her family hang on the closet doors at the facility where she’s recovering. She said her siblings, kids and grandkids took turns visiting and staying overnight when she first began treatment in the burn unit at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids.

“Every night, I was not without family. The whole six weeks I was there,” she said. “When I get down, I just look at what God has given, the people he’s put in my life.”

One unknown that remains as Kidder continues recovering is where she will live. She would like to find a place on her own because her family has already done so much for her.

“I have faith that God has some place for me but I don’t know where that is yet,” she said. “I never saw myself as being strong but God showed me this, that I am strong and I am going to make it.”

Those interested in learning more about her recovery can visit the GoFundMe page set up by Kidder’s daughter.