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house fire -- request for assistance

My sister Penny's house caught fire Tuesday night; it started in the attached garage, which was gutted, and there's heavy smoke, heat, and water damage throughout the house. I'll find out in the morning whether the family, or some of them, might be moving in with me and Emily -- I've got a double bed and two couches free.

My brother-in-law was the only person home at the time; he got out safely along with the two dogs. The cat went missing for a time, but apparently also made it through safely, so no injuries. That's the important thing, of course, but anyone who insinuates that losing all your belongings is no big deal never had it happen to them.

There was talk at first of condemning the house, and the garage is definitely gone, as is the utility room. Unfortunately, they'd just returned from vacation with many loads of dirty clothes, so much of their clothing was still in the utility room and is lost. The flooring's all ruined, and it's not looking good for the furnishings or most of their other belongings.

Some of their needs:
Michael is 10 and needs sizes 14-16 or 14 husky
Christian is 5 and wears size 6
Hailey is wearing sizes for 24 months
Chris wears size 34 pants and XL shirts
Penny wears size 8 or 9 pants and medium to large tops.
Last I checked they were specially in need of towels, washclothes, sippy cups and bottles, women's size 8 shoes, or men's size 9 tennis shoes.

If anyone wants to donate any cash to their needs, send it to my paypal account at ozma914@hotmail.coma and I'll see to it that they get it.

Although she hasn't mentioned it, I'd imagine the kids could really use some toys; Michael is a huge Star Wars fan and probably lost all of his collection. Now that I think of it, Penny probably lost her signed copy of Storm Chaser but I'll take care of that when the time comes.

Regardless of whether they get other housing through insurance, I'm going to try to get the house decluttered and ready for whatever might come along between now and when Emily goes back to school Monday ... not to mention we need to go through all of our own stuff for bedclothes and the like (never have I been so glad to be a hoarder), and maybe find a place to store whatever we get until they've got more permanent housing. Penny Bortner-Rogers listed a phone number on her facebook, but if anyone has anything they don't need, you can contact me -- I realize most of you are too far off to help, but your thoughts and prayers are equally appreciated. Getting things back to normal around here is going to take some time and effort. Meanwhile, although our internet router died at home, I'll still be around on e-mail (although there won't be much work getting done on the books for awhile).

Thanks to the Fort Wayne Fire Department for their efforts in fighting the fire.


( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 18th, 2011 06:19 am (UTC)
Do you have a Paypal? Won't be much, but I'll donate. So glad no one was injured.
Aug. 18th, 2011 06:41 am (UTC)
Sure, I don't know why I didn't think of that. Send it to my paypal account at ozma914@hotmail.com, and I'll get it to them.

I've been thinking a lot about the little things they lost: Toiletries, for instance, but all sort of small stuff. For weeks to come they'll need some inconsequential thing that they haven't thought of in years, and will realize they have to buy a replacement.
Aug. 18th, 2011 01:57 pm (UTC)
I'll donate to you as well!
Aug. 19th, 2011 07:04 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'll make sure she gets it; I'd imagine there's going to be a lot of little stuff they need that they haven't even thought about yet.
Aug. 18th, 2011 08:22 am (UTC)
Oh what a terrible thing to happen! I'm glad they're all safe but I can't begin to imagine the trauma!

Sending thoughts and good wishes
Aug. 18th, 2011 10:30 am (UTC)
Thanks, I appreciate it and I'll pass it on. It's a horrible thing to happen to anyone, but it'll be especially traumatic for my nephews and niece.
Aug. 18th, 2011 09:31 am (UTC)
So sorry I'm not close enough to be of any help. Hope they had insurance?
Aug. 18th, 2011 10:29 am (UTC)
Yes, they did have insurance, but we're not sure exactly how much it will cover in the way of recovery and coping costs. Fingers crossed.
Aug. 18th, 2011 12:20 pm (UTC)
Mark, I've sent a little via PayPal. If you PM me an address I'd like to send a small package for the children to show folks are thinking of them even in England.

This is so amazingly upsetting and horribly close to your own line of trade.

Aug. 19th, 2011 07:06 am (UTC)
Thanks, it's greatly appreciated -- and leaves me a little teary-eyed, too. I haven't mentioned this before on the internet, but the first major house fire I ever responded to was that of my then-step-uncle ... who was also a member of our fire department.
Aug. 18th, 2011 12:33 pm (UTC)
Quite a few years ago my parents had a fire in their house. They lived in a rural area in upstate NY and at the time, if you had a fire you usually lost everything, possessions and house. My parents were very lucky and only lost a part of the house, but my baby sister (she was sixteen at the time) lost everything it was devastating to her. What helped, was all my sisters sent her a package with not only clothes but fun stuff too, like party dresses and jewelry. I would like to help. Please email me an address I can send your sister a package. My email is teragramm4@yahoo.com

What type of household things makes your sister happy (For example, soup tureen, teapot, wine glasses etc.) and does she wear silver jewelry ?
Aug. 19th, 2011 07:33 am (UTC)
Boy, I feel guilty for saying this, but I don't actually know as far as household things, and I should. Seems like whenever I see her it's at a family gathering or when we're surrounded by kids, and household belongings all seem to amount to toys. I know she's a voracious reader (and fast -- she read Storm Chaser in two hours), and she used to love collecting Notre Dame themed items. I feel like a failure as an older brother, but I'd be lying if I said I was sure of any of it, including what kind of jewelry she wears. I'll try to find out and get back to you.

It's hard to control a fire in rural areas, even today when we're so much better equipped. Response times are slow because of distance and because most rural fire departments are volunteer, and to make matters worse water supply is usually a problem. Penny's family lives in the city, but they're near the edge of Fort Wayne and not all that close to a fire station.

Edited at 2011-08-19 07:34 am (UTC)
Aug. 19th, 2011 01:24 pm (UTC)
It's hard to control a fire in rural areas, even today when we're so much better equipped. Response times are slow because of distance and because most rural fire departments are volunteer, and to make matters worse water supply is usually a problem.
Yes, that's exactly what happened. One of the reasons the house was saved was because the phone wasn't effected (this was before my folks had cell phones) and my dad was able to use the house hose to slow down the spread before the fire department came. The fire volunteers were very happy they were able to save the house.

Email me the info when you get a chance.
Aug. 20th, 2011 05:56 am (UTC)
Yes, communications is vital, and before cell phones that could be quite a problem. It's all about how much time passes before units can arrive on the scene, and volunteers are automatically behind in that aspect. when I was a rookie I used to hang around the station all the time, but even the young people don't have time to do that these days.
Aug. 21st, 2011 06:12 am (UTC)
My mom just got back to me again and said Penny is hoping to replace her collection of pfaltzgraff tea rose pattern dishes, which she'd been collecting over the years and lost in the fire. I've never *heard* of pfaltzgraff; I had to look it up on the internet, but Penny's been collecting them since high school.
Aug. 21st, 2011 02:13 pm (UTC)
I've heard of pfaltzgraff and know some of their patterns, I've seen tea rose and thought it was pretty but did not know the name of the pattern, until I looked it up today.

P.S. I won the bid on the pfaltzgraff tea rose plater!
Aug. 22nd, 2011 04:27 am (UTC)
Oh, yay! I'm going to start keeping an eye out for that pattern, too.
Aug. 18th, 2011 01:18 pm (UTC)
How terrible for them. :( My heart goes out to your sister and her family.
Aug. 19th, 2011 07:33 am (UTC)
Thanks, and I'll pass it on to them; it's been rough going.
Aug. 18th, 2011 01:41 pm (UTC)
Send me a message with your snail mail address. I have something for Michael that I can mail to him.
Aug. 19th, 2011 07:34 am (UTC)
Will do, and thanks!
Aug. 18th, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
Yikes! I'm so sorry to hear about that. I will definitely be praying.
Aug. 19th, 2011 07:36 am (UTC)
Much appreciated! We need all the help we can get.
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 19th, 2011 07:37 am (UTC)
Thanks, Jamie! *manly hug* Much appreciated.
Aug. 19th, 2011 02:02 am (UTC)
I'm sorry about the fire - so glad no one, including the animals, was hurt. I'll be praying and I'll see what else I can do.
Aug. 19th, 2011 07:38 am (UTC)
Thanks, it's much appreciated ... been a rough time around here.
Aug. 19th, 2011 02:18 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry to hear this, very glad no-one was hurt, but to lose everything like that is devastating. Sending good thoughts.
Aug. 20th, 2011 05:27 am (UTC)
Thanks, and good thoughts are much appreciated! We're all muddling through ... it's going to be hard for some time to come.
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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