By Valerie Reddell
Home health care provider Jeanna Stafford and her grown son lost their Ivanhoe home Aug. 1 in a massive fire that also destroyed nearly all their personal possession.
Stafford said the house was built by her father, and she did not have homeowners insurance. She does have coverage for the car that was consumed in the fire.
During an interview Aug. 4, Stafford was still trying to come to terms with how to replace all their furniture, small appliances and clothing while at the same time trying to decide whether to rebuild or start over somewhere else.
She is thankful that her son was awakened and escaped the fire with only minor scrapes and bruises — and that none of the firefighters and first responders were injured.
Trucks and firefighters from Ivanhoe, Woodville and Warren spent hours at the fire scene Aug. 1, and Ivanhoe firefighters returned several times throughout the next day to cool off hot spots.
One treasured family possession was lost as the flag that draped the casket of Jeanna Stafford's father. He served aboard the Lexington in World War II and the flag was in a shadowbox in the living room.
Her daughter Jennifer Stafford said the community has been encouraging.
"We have had so many reach out to lend a helping hand," Jennifer Stafford said. "This was my childhood home and it's so shocking to think it can never happen to you then it does. We appreciate all the prayers and positive words from everyone in our community."
Meanwhile her mother is temporarily staying in Orange and commuting to work every day until she finds new housing.
"My employer is providing a bed and a couch that they had from an estate sale, but we still need sheets, towels ... all that stuff," she added. Vouchers from the Red Cross and Salvation Army are helping them with their most immediate needs.
If you would like to assist the Stafford family, the Booster will serve as a collection point for clothing and household items. Ms. Stafford wearing size 2X clothing and her son wears 32 x 32 pants and large shirts.