FOLLOWUP: Here’s how to help lifelong West Seattleite and local school employee who lost home to fire

(WSB photo from Sunday)

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.

5 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Here's how to help lifelong West Seattleite and local school employee who lost home to fire"

  • Michelle July 27, 2017 (3:24 pm)

    Tracy & Co,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to post this on the West Seattle Blog! I am so grateful for this community and  I know Roger and his family appreciate all that’s been done. I feel so fortunate and blessed to know that our community really rallies around each other.

    With all my gratitude and sincerest thanks,

    Michelle Whelan

  • Denny Middle School Teacher July 27, 2017 (4:45 pm)

    I am so sorry to hear about this. For anyone who is hesitating about contributing to the go fund me campaign, I’ll share what I know about Roger Baker as I am a teacher at Denny. Roger goes out of his way to make sure that if I need something, to ask and he is sure to take care of it quickly and with a smile. He sometimes brings in doughnuts to leave in the teachers lounge and includes encouraging heartfelt notes for us as well. He is kind to our “Denny Dolphins”. Roger is a very hard-working and generous person. He most definitely deserves all the support our community can give him right now. 

  • Bonnie July 27, 2017 (5:26 pm)

    Thanks for posting.  My kids went/go to Denny and he is a really great guy.  I hope he gets enough donations.

  • Another teacher at Denny July 27, 2017 (10:07 pm)

    I have known Mr. Baker since he started working at Denny. He called it his dream job, and we are so grateful to have him! He is an incredibly hard worker and does an incredible job caring for our building, and going the extra mile for it’s employees! I am so sorry this happened to him, please consider donating!

  • One more Denny teacher July 30, 2017 (3:36 pm)

    Thanks so much for sharing this info with the community! Roger has been through a lot in his life, and I’m so sorry that he is having to go through this tragic loss as well. This is a man of integrity who does his absolute best for our school community every day and takes great pride in his hard work, giving 100+% to ensure that our staff & students are looked after & have the best learning environment possible. I am making a contribution & hope that all of you will, too. Wishing him all the best –

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