Last Sunday afternoon, we reported on a house fire in Highland Park, in the 8100 block of 14th SW. No one was hurt, but it turns out the damage was greater than first assessed, and the longtime West Seattle resident and Denny International Middle School employee who lived there has lost most of his belongings, as well as a place to live, so a family friend has organized a crowdfunding page for community members to help. Michelle Whelan explains:
Lifelong West Seattleite Roger Baker, or “Mr. Baker” as he’s known to students at Denny Middle School, recently lost his house and most of his belongings to an electrical fire. The home had been in the Baker family for about 40 years and … is essentially a total loss due to internal damage and the prohibitively expensive cost to rebuild.
This is the same home Roger returned to 20 years ago help care for his ailing parents. In 2009 he obtained his current position as custodian at Denny MS. In the intervening years, while also working full time, Roger helped provide elder care for his parents — driving them to and from appointments, family events, and taking care of the home. His mother passed away several years ago, followed by his father more recently.
The Baker family, tribal members of the Turtle Mountain band of Chippewa, has deep, longstanding roots in West Seattle. Multi-generational graduates of West Seattle schools, the Bakers are a strong and close-knit family…which makes Roger’s loss all the more upsetting as he no longer has a place to live.
There’s even more to the story, which you can read on the GoFundMe page, which also has post-fire photos of the house’s interior. (SFD says the fire was accidental, sparked by a battery charger.) The GFM page also has details on non-monetary donations that would be helpful as well.