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Tacoma family loses house to fire, then has remaining belongings stolen

(DeeDee Sun, KIRO 7)

A family in Tacoma saw their house destroyed by a fire as they were moving their grandmother into assisted living, and later thieves broke in and stole the remaining belongings they were hoping to salvage, KIRO 7 TV reports. Roxanne De Los Reyes joined the Dori Monson Show to recount the devastating experience.

“We were about 30 minutes from heading out for my sister’s to take my mom down to Everett, … and got a call from the owner of the house I was renting asking me if I had a fire. And I was like, ‘I hope not. I’m not at home.’ Then she proceeded to tell me that she had been notified by a contractor, not even the fire department … that the house is on fire,” she said.

It was an electrical fire due to what appears to be some bad wiring in the rental house.

“Apparently, it was in between the dining room and ceiling, which happens to be my daughter’s room right above that. So that’s exactly where the flames shot right up through there. So luckily, we weren’t home. I don’t know how that would have played out. It happened at like 5-5:30 in the morning, so she definitely would have been sleeping up there, … so that could have been really tragic,” she said.

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Her husband happens to be up fishing in Alaska at the moment, so she’s been alone dealing with this with her three kids, staying in a hotel in the meantime.

“He’s been gone since from December, so we haven’t seen him. And obviously, it’s not really ideal for him to get a little boat and come back home — it’s really costly. So that’s been kind of hectic not having him here to help with everything,” she said.

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The family went through the house trying to salvage anything that may have been savable and wasn’t completely destroyed by the fire and water, and stored it in the garage temporarily. Thieves broke into and stole many of the valuables.

“The owner said that we could use the garage until about May, because they were very upset of what happened and everything as well. And I hadn’t really thought about it. Never had a problem there at all. … I stopped by the house just to do one last check, make sure everything was OK. And I noticed the window out of my SUV, the back window was broken, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ And then it didn’t even dawn on me that they probably broke into the garage,” she said.

“Everything in the garage was ransacked, boxes thrown everywhere, clothes, pictures, any little thing … they took all the valuables, the PlayStation, the TVs, the DS’s, the laptops.”

Another incident occurred shortly after involving a small fire in the garage.

“I got a text message from the owner of the house that somebody had went back inside, … so when we got there, we had opened it up and there were remnants of a fire in the middle of the garage. So obviously, I’m guessing somebody got in there to stay warm from the cold or they were just being jerks and starting another fire. I’m not really sure at that point, but it’s just ridiculous,” she said.

A GoFundMe started by friends of the family can be found here.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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