Caldwell family loses everything in house fire, including Christmas gifts

Credit: Troy Colson/KTVB

Caldwell family loses everything in house fire, including Christmas gifts

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by Scott Evans

Bio | Email | Follow: @ScottEvansKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on December 12, 2013 at 5:43 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 12 at 5:50 PM

CALDWELL – With the downright cold temperatures we've had over the last several weeks, emergency agencies are seeing more and more house fires.

In fact, since October, the American Red Cross of Greater Idaho has responded to 70 house fires across the lower part of the state.

One of the latest fires came Tuesday in Caldwell. It displaced a family of six. Investigators say the fire was accidental, spreading from the fireplace to the attic.

The family that lost their home chose not to do an on-camera interview with KTVB but said what they had is now gone, and that includes what few gifts they had for Christmas.

Their home is now vacant. Doors left open, smoked stained ice hangs from just about every ledge on the home. What used to be the roof is now just a gaping hole.

Even though firefighters got to the home quickly Wednesday morning and were able to extinguish the flames, the fire already destroyed so much. Shingles of the roof are now scattered across the front yard. The family lost everything.

"This is what happens when the temperatures drop, alternative heating sources. People who have faulty wiring, this is when these things get exposed," said Nicole Sirak-Irwin, the CEO of the American Red Cross of Greater Idaho.

The American Red Cross of Greater Idaho is just one of the many agencies that have jumped in to help this family.

The Red Cross put the family in a hotel until Monday, provided them winter coats and comfort kits -- bags filled with essentials like soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, etc. Things that you don't realize are missing until it's too late.

"Boise and the whole Treasure Valley are great at helping our families and our neighbors survive," said Sirak-Irwin.

The Caldwell Fire Department also helped out, and dipped into its burnout fund to help the family.

"We try to do what we can for them. If they need food or whatever, so we just write them a check and they can do with it what they need to do with it," said Dan Kinney, a firefighter with the Caldwell Fire Department.

The family that lived in the home on Kimball Street in Caldwell is a single mom with five kids that range in age from 27 to three, the oldest has Down syndrome.

With Christmas less than two weeks away, the few gifts the family had, were also destroyed in the fire.

Now this family has a lot to figure out, including finding a new place to live and getting clothes to brave this cold weather.

The Salvation Army is also helping out by working to gather donations for the family. They're accepting donations on behalf of the family.  In this case, donations are not tax deductible.

If you're interested in helping out, Lt. Kristy Church with the Salvation Army says the family needs everything from head to toe. Money and clothing are at the top of the list of needed items.

Here are the ages for the family, excluding the mother:

27-year-old male
17-year-old girl
16-year-old girl
14-year-old boy
3-year-old boy

Some items have been received already, but storage is a real problem. If you are interested in helping out in any way, contact Lt. Kristy Church. Her cell phone number is (503) 313-3438.

You can also contact the Caldwell chapter of the Salvation Army at 459-2011.

It's important to point out, these agencies, the Red Cross, the Caldwell Fire Department Burnout Fund and the Salvation Army, help families like this year-round.

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