'We are still getting married on Saturday'

'We are still getting married on Saturday' »Play Video
Maria Carpena
NEAR SEATTLE -- A couple less than a week from their wedding are two of 39 people without a home this week after a three-alarm fire destroyed much of their apartment building in South Seattle Sunday.

But the couple is not without hope.

For Maria Carpena, her fiance and her three kids, a hotel is their home for now.

"We don't even know how we are going to be here tomorrow and there are five of us in one room," she said.

A Red Cross goodie bag sits on the table while their entire world sits folded in three duffel bags from the nearest thrift store.

"We don't know what we are eating for dinner tonight you know," she said. "It's humbling."

Carpena may have watched the vicious flames invade her Sunday, but she says she will not allow them to rob her of her big day.

"We are still getting married on Saturday," she said. "We planned for about a year; put every penny we had into it."

Somewhere in the soot, burnt to a crisp in what's left of her apartment, is her daughter's purple bridesmaid dress; all the favors for the wedding party; maria's new white shoes; her jewelry, and an engraved pocket watch for her future husband.

"(It said) 'my heart belongs to you,' " Carpena said.

The wedding rehearsal, the dinner and party are all canceled, but the blaze messed with the wrong bride in one way: She moved her dress days before the fire to hide it from her fiance. It is one of the only things that escaped.

"Everybody in that building has a story like ours," she said. "They were already low income apartments, so the people living there -- it was all we had we had. No savings -- what nice stuff we had was all that we had," she said.

Carpena says the wedding rings she and her fiance Tom will exchange on Saturday were also saved with the dress.

In the meantime, King County fire investigators will meet Tuesday morning with the building's owners -- Seattle's Union Gospel Mission -- to decide how to proceed. The building so far has been unsafe for crews to enter to determine what caused the fire.