7/28/2014

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Problem Solvers

Enumclaw family needs help after home burns

Enumclaw family needs help after home burns

ENUMCLAW, Wash. -- From the outside of the two bedroom trailer in an Enumclaw senior's community, the devastation is barely noticeable. But open the door of the Sekeres's charred home and blackened plastic drips from the ceiling like icicles. The smell of smoke blasts out the front door and coats clothing several feet away.

In six minutes Tuesday morning, three generations of one family lost nearly everything they own, including their 12-year-old dog Sweetie. Her darkened dog dish is covered in soot on the kitchen floor. 13-year-old Austin Fleming pushed past his mom to re-enter the home and rescue the other dog.

Jessica Black was waking up her son Austin for school when she smelled something burning.

"I saw just a thick cloud of white smoke billowing from the back of the bed and I grabbed his arm and I said, 'Austin, smoke, fire, go!" she said.

Jessica's work schedule had just changed and an hour earlier, she wouldn't have been home to wake up her son, mom, and stepdad.

"I wouldn't have a family at all," Black said. When she lifted the mattress to see where the smoke was coming from, flames shot toward the mattress. The wiring in the walls had been smoldering and now erupted.

AJ Sekeres burned his hand trying to douse the flames. His plastic hose was so cold it snapped and didn't release water.

"I'm retired Navy and I've been through a couple of plane crashes on a flight deck," Sekeres said. "And they were easy to fight compared to living with this and trying to fight it. I couldn't fight it."

The recent government shutdown made money tight last month as the Sekeres waited for AJ's benefits. His wife Linda skipped paying their $97 insurance bill and the insurance on the trailer lapsed just weeks before the fire. Now they are all wearing donated clothes and living in separate homes.

They found a home to lease but are worried they'll have to pay rent for that as well as the burned trailer. The Sekeres are looking for someone to salvage or remove the trailer so they don't have to pay $700 a month rent for a house they can't inhabit.

While they don't know where they'll eat their Thanksgiving meal, they are are thankful this holiday that at least they have each other. "It was too close, very close," said AJ.

If you know of a salvage company that can remove their trailer home or if you want to help them out contact the KOMO 4 Problem Solvers or donate to the Problem Solvers fund.

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