‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” says Mike Reynolds of Honesdale, using the quote his Uncle Larry  Reynolds often does. “That’s true and I always live by that.” 

 ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” says Mike Reynolds of Honesdale, using the quote his Uncle Larry  Reynolds often does. “That’s true and I always live by that.” 
A week ago Thursday, Reynolds was burned out of his home at 1731 East Street. He’d only just moved there two months prior.

Regardless that most of his personal possessions have been lost, Reynolds remains optimistic. Asked how he’s doing a week later, he says, “Not too bad. I have a lot of friends and family.” He’s temporarily living with a good friend while he looks for an apartment in the area.
Reynolds learned of the fire through a friend. “There’s a bad fire on 18th Street,” he was told. “At that time, there were so many rumors, nobody knew exactly where the fire was. I was out by Narrowsburg,” he said.

“I have really good luck. And I didn’t think it was at my house at all,” he said. But cell phone messages from friends proved differently, saying, “Dude, your house is on fire.”
Reynolds says he was thinking a lot of things at that point. “I don’t try to get upset or anything like that because it doesn’t help. I’m not that type of person. I was thinking, ‘Thank God I have insurance.’ I was more concerned about other things. Then, they told me it was spreading really bad. And I know there’s an older gentleman on the first floor.” Reynolds said he was worried about his neighbor.

Good friends
“People I hadn’t heard from in a while, people were just calling me up because they were watching it on TV. They’re like, ‘Mike, your house is on TV, live, right now. The helicopters are there.’ So, people were calling me up as it was happening, ‘If you need a place to stay, anything I can do for you.’”

Reynolds has been back to his house to see if there was anything he could salvage. “I just started drawing. I used to help out the Wayne County Arts Alliance quite a bit ...I was just starting to get somewhat good at it. I had all of my works there. I’m big into fashion. And I just started practicing drawing different models,” he said. His art work was ruined. “Some of it, you could see it, but it was so black and it was soaked, and the pencil marks were smeared. And I didn’t want to take it, because the smell gives you a headache that was in there. It makes you sick when you’re trying to find your stuff.”

“There was people driving by, just offering money. There was people coming down there with car loads of clothing. There was people just telling their stories about when they had been through fires, and they knew how tough it was,” he said. Reynolds told them to donate the money to churches and the Red Cross, figuring other victims needed it more. Reynolds remembers the look on the other victim’s faces. “I just never saw such a look on somebody’s face. You know, they had been crying all day. I was basically blowing it off, laughing, because it’ll eat you up on the inside.”

This week, the Borough Code Enforcement Officer, Wayne Earley, spoke about the necessity of landlords complying with the rental ordinance. Among other things, when a landlord is licensed and reports when tenants move out, the Enforcement Officer can get inside the home to inspect for potential safety violations.

Staying safe
 Reynolds wanted one thing said, as an area contractor, that home inspectors are doing their job at keeping people safe. “I work with these inspectors all the time. And I know for a fact that they’re very tough on these new codes ...I know that they’re concerned for the utmost safety of everyone. And I know that from personal experience ...It’s not just like they go and give you a stamp and collect this money. I know that they’re there protecting people ...They come in, they thoroughly investigate all new works and old works. And you don’t get a stamp until they’re happy or you make changes of something that just doesn’t look right to them or if they feel that there is a hazard. I would like to say that on the record. I get to work with them all the time. I feel that they are tough. Not in a mean or rude way, but I think that they do to the best of their capability that they can with the people they have,” he said.