Dentist Remains Upbeat After Fire

Though he had no insurance, and his home and office are a wreck, he says he's just glad to be alive

Robert McKay had no insurance on his house or his dental business, which sustained severe smoke damage in a fire a week and a half ago.

But the daffodils in his garden and the hyacinths in his window box are blooming, and  “It’s a bright sunny day,” McKay says, and he smiles.

“Any time I’m this side of the grass, I have options. I’m so happy I can enjoy the flowers.”


THE FIRE STARTED – a wood stove that he is going to give away, and which, he confesses, he is going to miss.

The fire was not large, McKay said at the time, and firefighters arrived quickly on the scene. While the actual burn damage from fire was minimal, the smoke damage was extensive.

Plaster walls have come down, showing the naked, uninsulated boards beneath. Ductwork, some damaged by the heat from the fire, dangles from the ceiling.

And there is soot everywhere.

"All the walls have to go," he says, gesturing.


McKAY, WHO IS STAYING with his girlfriend, says that all sorts of people have been by to help. Dental patients, staffers, friends and neighbors all have come by to see what they could do.

“I just got a call from a high school guy I haven’t seen in 35 years,” he says.

On many days since the fire, shade shelters have been put up on the property, and you can see groups of people working in them, wiping and sorting and cleaning. Thursday, what could be saved was in boxes in a Pod. A large Dumpster was being filled with debris, ruined stuff, piles of plaster. More recently, you can see piles of plaster outside the house, and more belongings and equipment outside to be wiped off.

“People have been driving over since they can’t get a hold of me,” he says. “I had a patient working all day in the back shed, and the sun was going down, and that shed was ready because God set a patient to set that up.”

And many dentists have offered their practices to him, as places where he can see his patients.

“I have more offers of places to work than I can possibly be to work,” he says.

Much of McKay's dental equipment is OK, he said. It can just be wiped off. His files, he says, are in good shape.


AS FOR WHAT HE DOES NEED, McKay says the first thing is information from experts to tell him what he needs. What should he do, and with what equipment and in what order?

“I know I need a lot,” he says.




Mark T. Kalinowski April 04, 2012 at 12:49 PM
No better guy than Dr. McKay. I'm sorry this happened to him but as everyone can see by reading this article, he's at a level higher than something that would bring the average Joe (or Michael) to his knees. My prayers remain with him as he rebuilds.


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