Egan gains new perspective after house fire


Kathryn Rudd, Staff Writer


Everyday we walk into our homes and see the little things that have become a part of an insignificant background in our lives. The sculpture you made in your third grade art class sitting on a shelf fades, you look past picture frames and the sock peeking out from under the couch is forgotten. We are so accustomed to what we see in our homes, sometimes we forget that in an instant it can all be taken away.


The National Fire Protection Association estimates that U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 357,000 house fires a year. The realities of this were experienced by one of Coppell High School’s own Spanish and French teachers, Michael Egan. On Saturday Nov. 21, Egan was at a friend’s house when a phone call turned his world upside down.


“I got a call from my roommate at around 5:45 a.m. and she was very emotional but [I could understand] enough to the point where she said the house was on fire,” Egan said. “I rushed over and by the time I got to my house the entire house was engulfed in flames. It destroyed everything.”


Soon after, 604 W. Sycamore St. in Denton was not much of a house anymore. The fire department believes it was a gas leak that led to the fire because of the old infrastructures in the Denton communities.


“It was a very surreal feeling. Just watching all your things [burn]– there are memories in those certain things in the home where you live,” Egan said. “So just watching that crumble in front of you is a little breathtaking and it takes you back and puts a lot of things in perspective. All of us were in shock.”

On Nov. 21 Spanish and French teacher Michael Egan’s house at 604 Sycamore St. in Denton was engulfed in flames likely in result to a gas leak. Everything within the house was destroyed. Photo courtesy Michael Egan.
On Nov. 21 Spanish and French teacher Michael Egan’s house at 604 Sycamore St. in Denton was engulfed in flames likely in result to a gas leak. Everything within the house was destroyed. Photo courtesy Michael Egan.

Egan lives with four roommates, all of whom are finishing school. Portfolios, homework, computers and notes were all ruined in the fire. Five lives were greatly affected and although the unexpected tragedy certainly shook them up, the amount of support from the Coppell and Denton communities reminds them that they have people to fall back on.


“I’ve never experienced a life tragedy such as this,” Egan said. “So to see that type of support is very overwhelming and very humbling. I have a lot of friends who have taken me into their homes. It’s very humbling to see that.”


Egan is not the only one in the Coppell community that has been affected by such an unexpected incident like this one. Eight months ago, algebra teacher Jennifer Flores also experienced a house fire.

“Things still haven’t truly gotten back to normal,” Flores said. “It took about two months for things to start to feel a little more normal and for us to get back into a smooth daily routine. The stress of the fire is still present daily, especially because repairs have not been completed and we don’t feel at home in our current residence.”

But despite the past couple of months, Flores’ family also relieved support from the school as well.

“The support from Coppell High School was truly unbelievable. Everyone was so supportive and really helped my family get back on our feet,” Flores said.


Egan and his roommates have set up a GoFundMe and in just 14 days they have raised over $4,500 with a goal of $10k. Egan was the only one with insurance on the house, so the GoFundMe donations will be used to start making a downpayment on a new house, rent, and basic necessities that were lost in the fire. They still have a long way to go but Egan is determined to keep them together once they know their next step.


“The plan is still we definitely want to live together,” Egan said. “To us it’s not like ‘oh you’re my roommate’. We’re a very special group of friends who have really turned into a little family,” said Egan.


Egan has not hid what has happened to him from the Coppell community and the support from within the school is just as astounding.


“There has been a major outpouring of support for Mr. Egan and that’s been really cool to see,” sophomore Jennifer Nachazel said. “I think we’re also glad that no one got hurt.”


Although the support from Denton and Coppell has made it easier to find peace for the future, the effects of the incident have not quite settled.


“It’s still very fresh, so I don’t know the extent of what I’ve lost quite yet, so I’m afraid as I go out I’m going to want to use something but then I’ll remember ‘oh right it burned’,” Egan said. “So it’s still very raw.”


Anyone who has ever talked with or seen Egan teach knows he is a upbeat, passionate man and he is keeping those qualities close to him as time goes on.


“I’ve always subscribed to this belief: positivity is power,” Egan said. “Oddly enough there is some good that is going to come out of this. I’ve seen some already, but just the good in knowing that the support is there for me when I need it. It’s sad that it took this for me to know it but now I have that it there.”