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Mom of 7 Children, Some with Special Needs, Loses Home To Fire

The church is collecting donations.

Drop off the donations, money, or check made out to “Crawford Family Fund” to the church. 

It is located at 15005 Q St, Omaha.

*Gift cards to purchase additional seasons of clothes over the next few months are also appreciated.


  • Emily: Size 16 girls or women's small top, and 16 or 26 waist bottoms. 7.5 women's shoe.
  • Brayden: Men's small top and 29x30 bottoms.  7.5 men's shoe.
  • Sophia: Size 8/10 top, bottom 8, shoes 3.5
  • Lillian: 7 bottoms, 7/8 top, shoes 2
  • Emryl: 7/8 top and bottom (stretch pants)
  • Michael: 8 top and bottom, shoes 5.5 wide
  • Isaiah: 7/8 top, 7 bottom, shoes 3.5

The homeowner of a home that erupted in flames early Monday morning told WOWT 6 News she has no idea right now what caused the fire. She didn’t want to go on camera as she is too distraught, but said she is thankful to the entire community for the help they have offered so far.

Meriel Crawford raises 7 children, ages 7-14, alone. Some have special needs, including the youngest, who is blind. When Crawford’s house erupted in flames only three minutes after she took her children to school, the fire spread fast. The entire first floor is a loss, the majority of the upstairs also caught fire, and the basement has extreme smoke and water damage.

Four pets, including 2 cats and 2 ferrets her son uses for therapeutic needs, sadly didn’t make it. Nobody was home at the time of the fire. It is still not clear how it happened.

Omaha firefighters did not take long to put out the fire near 167th and Q streets Monday morning, but the damage done to the main level was extensive, they said.

Monday afternoon a large pile of the family’s belongings was cleared out of the house, covered in ash, and into the front yard.

The family belongs to the Divine Shepherd Lutheran Church, where they have been active members for years.

Vicar Sean Chapman, Director of Family Life at the Church, told WOWT 6 News. “It’s just a really difficult time to have to rebuild as your preparing to celebrate this awesome holiday of Christmas.”

Chapman raced over shortly after hearing of the fire. “They’re just an amazing family with kids with a variety of needs. Just to see how they all work together, how loving they are with each other, they’re just an exceptional group, and I hope the community can reach out and respond and help them,” he explained.

Crawford told WOWT 6 News off camera that the Mission Hills neighborhood is helping watch her children, providing dinner, as well as emotional support. She said she couldn’t be more thankful.

The fire comes at a very hard time for the family. Not only is it Christmas, but Crawford recently re-filled her daughter’s special medication which is costly and hard to obtain. On top of that, the family lost all of their clothes and potentially school music instruments, football equipment, and several other necessities for the children.

Chapman said, “It’s going to be a real challenge for them cause they’re in a spot where they really need some serious help, and I know that’s really challenging especially for Meriel to receive help for others – but I think she’s going to need it.”

The church is collecting donations, just drop off the donations or mail a check made out to “Crawford Family Fund” to the church. It is located at 15005 Q St, Omaha. In addition to money, the family is in extreme need of clothing items, shoes, and anything to make an enjoyable holiday for the seven children.

UPDATE: By Tuesday, the family had been getting help from individuals, churches and schools. They have moved in with another family while their home is repaired.

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