Two Bellevue families lost their homes to a fire Saturday morning, but family and friends are pitching in to make sure they have everything they need.
The fire broke out around 4:30 a.m. in the furnace and water heater area of the duplex at 2524 Wayne Street and spread quickly between the apartments. There was fire damage to the upstairs and smoke and water damage to the downstairs. No one was hurt, though many possessions were destroyed. The most precious things survived the fire.
Autumn House gave Channel 6 News an impromptu tour of her mother’s home Saturday afternoon while others continued to salvage what they could. So far, the family members are very happy and a little surprised at what they found.
“We got quite a bit salvaged, a lot of her bigger furniture,” said House. “Unfortunately, the couch and bed are total losses, but a lot of the family memories, the pictures of the grandkids and kids growing up, knickknacks that the kids made for her over the years, we were able to save a lot of that.”
Most of the damage to Colleen’s place and her neighbor’s below was caused by smoke and water. “I heard screaming and my dogs were howling, so I went outside and saw a whole bunch of fire trucks and I saw smoke rolling out of the house so I came outside and made sure everything was alright,” said Travis Knipp.
He continued to help during the daylight hours. Many neighbors pitched in to haul or store or bake whatever was necessary to help the families in the duplex. Even though Colleen may think of this as a dark day, it was also the day everyone got to show her how much she means to them.
“The family is going to be there for her,” said House. “She is not homeless, she will always have a place to stay whether it is with me and my son or any of the relatives, we’re going to make sure that she is not homeless for the holidays.”
The Red Cross supplied the families’ critical needs, providing food, clothing and shelter to Colleen and the second family. Colleen did not want to be interviewed, but did want to thank Bellevue firefighters, who grabbed some of the precious memories and brought them, as well as the family dog Honey Bear, out to safety.