Arbor Heights fire: How to help family who ‘lost everything’

Arbor Heights Community Church, less than a block away from the home destroyed by fire Saturday evening, is organizing efforts to help the family who lived there. They were out of town when the 2-alarm fire, blamed on “spontaneous combustion,” happened. Church volunteer Jerri Anne Forehand tells WSB they returned to West Seattle today and are “trying to sort everything out,” dealing with the fact they “lost everything.” First, the Red Cross found them a place to stay tonight, but for the longer run, they are looking for a house to rent, preferably in the Arbor Heights area, because their kids start school next week. Second, the church is collecting monetary donations for them. Jerri Anne says you can drop a check off at the church or mail it in – make the check out to the church, designated for the fire victims’ fund, and they “will cut one big check for them” later this week, she says. Arbor Heights Community Church is on the corner of SW 102nd/41st SW (mailing address is 4113 SW 102nd, zip 98146), 206-935-5714; if you want to stop in or call with a check and/or information on a potential rental, someone will be there 10 am-2 pm Monday-Thursday this week.

52 Replies to "Arbor Heights fire: How to help family who 'lost everything'"

  • Kate K August 29, 2011 (12:18 am)

    Let’s pony up what we can for this family who lost everything and has two kids starting school next week. Thanks to the Arbor Heights Community Church for starting the fund.

  • ellenater August 29, 2011 (12:58 am)

    Agreed. School supplies for starters.

  • happy August 29, 2011 (2:02 am)

    Has anyone who knows the family contacted the school to let the staff know? They should be aware, so the kids can get the long-term support they are going to need.

  • Citizen August 29, 2011 (6:28 am)

    Would be nice to know size of family, ages etc. to know what housing might be appropriate.

  • Hollyplace August 29, 2011 (7:24 am)

    Thanks to the church for organizing this. With school starting and the fact that they lost everything, could gift cards to local stores be dropped off for the family to use immediately? I imagine toiletries and clothes, pet supplies and food would be needed before a check can be cut.

  • HelperMonkey August 29, 2011 (7:25 am)

    there’s a house for rent on 42nd just south of 100th. I’ll pass that info on to the church.

  • Westie August 29, 2011 (7:45 am)

    So sad. Good thing they have their pets. They’re going to need them. (RIP turtles) Any word on the status of the kitty that was burned?

  • CurlyQ August 29, 2011 (8:53 am)

    Hats off to the church for taking this family on and helping them. This is what church is really all about and meant to be. Prayers for the family and grateful no one–especially the kids–was hurt!

  • Jerri Anne Forehand August 29, 2011 (8:56 am)

    The mailing address for the church is 4113 SW 102nd Ave. Seattle, WA 98146.

  • Kevin August 29, 2011 (9:44 am)

    There is another house for rent on 100th just west of 44th.

  • Michele August 29, 2011 (9:53 am)

    What size clothing for the children? Boys? Girls? They will need school clothes.

  • DBurns August 29, 2011 (9:55 am)

    Are they willing to take items vs. just money? If so, it would help to have good/generic description of family. My parents lost their house in the Oakland Hills fire in the 90’s and the things given to them from friends became treasures – the “not new” stuff was somehow really nice to have.

    • WSB August 29, 2011 (10:14 am)

      DBurns: I was told no, not right now.

  • karen August 29, 2011 (10:16 am)

    How old are the kids and what gender? My kids would be willing to donate a toy or two to help ease the pain a little.

  • Jerri Anne Forehand August 29, 2011 (10:37 am)

    Arrangemnets will be made to get any gift cards brought by the church to the family as soon as possible. At this time we are not collecting items, since the family is in a hotel.

  • AM August 29, 2011 (10:37 am)

    How old are the kids….we were just about to take some clothes to the consignment shop, but happy to pass them along to the kids instead?

  • Reeve August 29, 2011 (10:40 am)

    Do they want furniture?

  • a nice girl in a big town August 29, 2011 (10:56 am)

    Arbor Heights sure has gone through a lot lately :(
    There are a couple houses for rent one on 35th and 102nd and another on 102nd and 37th Ave that I know about.

  • Lynn August 29, 2011 (11:30 am)

    1 kitty still missing as of Sunday morning. Boo, orange/white tabby. Not sure if he is still missing, but keep an eye out for him. He’s an indoor/outdoor cat with a regular schedule of when he goes home so the family is hoping he will return home once the firetrucks are gone, which they are now.

  • DT August 29, 2011 (11:41 am)

    Thank you everyone for the support. The kitten is still in the vet but the family has seen her and she is in good spirits while Boo, the other cat, has been found and is with the family. Anything would be appreciated in terms of school supplies and other goods. One child will be starting high school while the other is in middle school so supplies regarding what a high schooler or middle schooler would need (i.e. pens, highlighters, paper, pencils, etc.) would be much appreciated and can be dropped off at the Arbor Heights church.

    On behalf of the family, thank you for all your love and support in this trying time. We are fortunate to know that good people will good out of their ways to help complete strangers.

  • Family August 29, 2011 (11:45 am)

    Boo was found and is safe. There is a 15 year old boy and a 12 year old girl.

  • JenR August 29, 2011 (11:53 am)

    The kids are teenagers. I have seen the orange cat so it did make it out of the house. Know who I can call if we find it (I can try putting food out…I am a neighbor)

  • onceachef August 29, 2011 (1:20 pm)

    There’s a rental house on my block at 8819 36th Ave SW…not too far from AH. It doesn’t have a sign up at this point but it is empty as of a couple of weeks ago. I’m not sure who to contact but maybe someone knows how to access this info.

  • Kate K August 29, 2011 (1:37 pm)

    If you donate money, they can buy what they need instead of trying to guess.

  • Neighbor August 29, 2011 (1:50 pm)

    Hey Family! if it’s not too invasive can we ask what size clothing would be useful? How about gift certificates, what stores would be of use right now? How about some of the stores here in WS stepping up? It’s not only clothing that could be useful, I bet a couple of nights out at restaurants, heck even some massage appointments would be really beneficial.
    My heart goes out to you!

  • lunapark August 29, 2011 (1:58 pm)

    Praying for you all. We lost our home to a fire 4 years ago and my children are the same ages as yours. It is devastating to experience this kind of tragedy but when you come through it with your family and your pets you realize just how fortunate you are. Through the tough days ahead, stay strong and focus on what remains not was was lost. We’ll be thinking of you and your family in the weeks ahead.

  • Carmen August 29, 2011 (2:02 pm)

    Thank goodness they were not home. I was attempting to get around this neighborhood during the fire. I am saddened that the firefighters could not get working fire hydrants close to this home. Hope the family has some help from the City or whomever is supposed to be making sure those things have adequate water to them.

    • WSB August 29, 2011 (2:27 pm)

      I have just talked to Seattle Public Utilities regarding where the hydrant investigation stands – look for that story coming up a bit later – TR

  • Family Member August 29, 2011 (2:48 pm)

    Thank you to all the people donating to me and my family . We are very grateful that we are all safe and people are helping . Anything would help support what we need . I am 12 and my brother is 15 and im going into 7th he is going into 10th . The pets are okay and the kitty that was in the vet is going to are aunts house today with are other cat Boo . Again , thank all of u for making a effort in helping , Raqel is also is collage and lost her binders and text books and papers , it would be very lovely is she could get anything for school also .

  • AC August 29, 2011 (3:11 pm)

    I think there is a very important question that need to be ask of the city. What is wrong with the water? There is a water map that is out there that shows that that this area only has a 2 inch water main. If this is the case, why has it not been upgraded by the city? When you hook up a 5 inch supply line from a hydrant, and then add multiple 1 1/2 inch and 2 inch hand lines of course there is no pressure. Someone need to look into this but in no way should we rely on the Fire department or the water department to tells us the truth.

  • Lisa August 29, 2011 (3:28 pm)

    There will be a house available to rent on 35th & 102nd soon, it is a 3 bedroom 1 3/4 bath so not sure if it too small. Contact Associates West @ 938-5633. What size clothing is needed for the boy and girl? Let’s not forget the pets also need supplies and food. Can we bring items to the chuch and if so what hours and days are best?

  • ElevenTruckmen August 29, 2011 (3:47 pm)

    @AC What exactly do you think the fire department is going to hide? They already said they tried to get water but couldnt. They already said they check the hydrants. They already said it took longer to respond then normal because of an ongoing medical emergency. What more do you want? Thus far they seem pretty transparent. It seems you have a whole lot of information that you are withholding. Like the location of that secret map out “there”. The info you do give out is a bit flawed as well. The Seattle Fire Department uses 4″ supply lines with 2 1/2″ and 1 3/4″ attack lines. Seems a small difference but when your talking about the accuracy of information given out, let’s get it right shall we.

  • Jerri Anne Forehand August 29, 2011 (4:24 pm)

    Lisa: Office hours for the church are 10 – 2. There is also a neighborhood block watch meeting there Tuesday night at seven. Someone will be on hand to accept donations during that time.

  • uinc August 29, 2011 (8:10 pm)

    So sorry for the family. One thing that no one seems to question is the cause of fire. Spontaneous combustion of wood in a portable fire pit that has not been in use for the last 2 years, stored in garage, makes NO sense to me.

  • foy boy August 29, 2011 (9:08 pm)

    Eleven, Like the rest of us we want acountablity. So what that there may have been some other problems. The fact that the water did not work is big. Someones head must roll, Did anybody see the city checking the hydrants today? What if this is to happen agin? You would think the city would be falling all over itself to make sure this won’t happen again. But I think the mayor was openning a new bike lane.

    • WSB August 29, 2011 (9:25 pm)

      Yes, the city did check the hydrants. Sorry it’s taken me a few hours but I’m writing the results of my conversation with SPU this afternoon, right now, separate story … TR

  • LN August 29, 2011 (9:43 pm)

    My 15 year old just got done going through her clothes. We were getting ready to donate them to Goodwill but would like to bring the donations up to the church instead. I will make a valiant effort to go through my 12 year olds dresser drawers along with mine to see what we can come up with. I would also like to offer up a large persian style rug, among a few other household items, when the family is able to accept furnishings. Thoughts and prayers go out to this family in the face of this tragedy. Happy everyone is safe but so sad at the same time.

  • ElevenTruckmen August 29, 2011 (10:04 pm)

    Foy, What i’m saying is that the fire department seems to be allowing for the accountability we all want. No one want’s to find out how this happened, and ways to prevent this from happening again, more than the fire fighters who stood helpless in frustration. AC’s comment suggests that the fire department is some secret government agency hiding in the shadows hatching some master plan to deceive the public. Nothing could be farther from the truth. All that aside. It has been my experience that these events are rarely the fault of one person. The swiss cheese model comes to mind. In the end if the public wants a head to roll i’m sure that can be arranged. It wont be real though, just a scapegoat.

  • 2 Much Whine August 30, 2011 (8:21 am)

    Can we focus on how to help the family rather than trying to blame the fire department, the hydrant company, the water lines, the mayor, the portable fire pit company, the charcoal, Obama, or anyone else? It would be a testament to our community if we put our efforts into helping this family get back on their feet instead of pointing fingers in pure speculation.

  • friend August 30, 2011 (1:46 pm)

    *Please Read** my dear friends lost 2 pets and 1 cat has been hurt, Minnie. The financial burden is enormous and I would appreciate if possible help with vet bill, you can call 2062480264 account 96416, any help is greatly appreciated!!! Thanks

  • Arbor Heights August 31, 2011 (10:29 am)

    House for rent on 30th ave sw and SW 100th. $1,300 is what the last tenants paid. House is owned by Explorer West school I believe. There is a sign outside of the house (managed by a real estate office). Nice remodeled home and a 3 bedroom I believe.

  • JoDean August 31, 2011 (11:22 am)

    I checked on helping pay their vet bill for the cat and found out that the vet’s phone # given by a friend above was actually the fax #. The vet is in Burien at 5 Corners and the phone # is 206-243-2982. The account # is 96416 and they do have a substantial balance that they could use help with.

  • friend August 31, 2011 (11:54 am)

    Thanks JoDean for posting correct number!

  • melissa parson August 31, 2011 (7:41 pm)

    I’m proud to live in W Seattle. such amazing generous people.

  • Diaz September 2, 2011 (2:50 pm)

    I live on the Eastern part of the mtn. and found out about the fire. I’ve been able to keep track of the news thru internet. My daughter had been with the family on their vacation and I was sad to hear about the fire completely distroying everything. Thanks and prayers to everyone who is doing there part in helping this family.

  • Alana September 2, 2011 (6:11 pm)

    I have a bag of girls clothes and live in the neighborhood, are they still collecting stuff at the church? Thank you

  • batgurrl September 3, 2011 (1:54 pm)

    I just went by 5 Corner Vet to help pay their bill and found it has been paid in full. The girls told me it was over 1800 dollars because the kitty had to have oxygen for so long. Good Sams as they called them paid the whole thing in several chunks.

    There is a lot of good out there folks.

    • WSB September 3, 2011 (2:02 pm)

      Thanks for that update. We’ll include it when we check in on how things stand and what’s still needed. Love to hear the good news. – TR

  • Reaching out from Auburn area September 4, 2011 (6:56 pm)

    My best friend told me of your situation and after reading all the comments we (my family) are also getting some school supplies and clothing and whatever else we can find together for you and your family. We are so sorry this tragedy has happened to you. Things will get better. To the fire department men and women, you guys rock! All of you will be in our prayers. So glad you have your pets and they will be alright.

  • Linda September 7, 2011 (9:37 am)

    Has there been any further action regarding the hydrants in this neighborhood from SPU? I have not received a response to an email I sent to them on August 28. Have they released any information to the public concerning the cause of the complete failure of the hydrants or are they sitting on it, waiting for the concern to just fade away?

  • Arbor Heights Community Church September 8, 2011 (1:14 pm)

    The church has collected over $5,000 in cash, checks, and gift cards to-date for the family. We have also given them a list of people willing to donate household items. They have found a new home in north Burien and are moving in this week. The kids have started school on schedule. “Our family is doing better each week” they reported today. A big “thank-you” to the community for blessing the family with your generosity!

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