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Las Palmas family begins again after fire

Posted by on Oct 21st, 2010 and filed under Community News, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Photo by Mary O’KEEFE The Fenton family, whose house was destroyed by fire last week, plans to rebuild their devastated home.

By Mary O’KEEFE

The devastating fire last week that destroyed a home at 3430 Las Palmas Avenue has the owners picking up what few pieces are left and taking life one day at a time.

“We had some friends that opened their house and there are eight of us,” said Chuck Fenton, the Las Palmas homeowner.

The home was nearing the end of a long remodel. The new washer and dryer had been placed, along with the new refrigerator.

“ We were within a month of having all the remodeling done with some minor interior [additions] and landscaping the front yard,” Fenton said.

Roofers had left the home a few minutes before a gardener who was at the home to begin landscaping saw smoke. Fenton said fire officials had told him they suspect the fire was due to something that was done to the roof just prior to the workers leaving.

Glendale Fire Departments Arson unit is still investigating and has yet to release their findings, said Capt. Stuart Stefani, spokesman for GFD.

Fenton and his wife Lisa have lived in their Las Palmas home for 15 years. They have two children, 8 and 5  years old, and at present are foster parents for a 2-month-old child and 2-year-old child. They are also foster parents for an 18-year-old girl who is caring for her nine month old child.   Child services have allowed the Fenton’s to remain parents for those children despite the fire. The Fenton’s were grateful that they were allowed to keep their family together.

“It is important to give [these children] a sense of stability,” he said.

Since the fire neighbors and friends have stepped up to help.  The family has split their time between two friends who had offered them homes.  A church group has offered to supply dinner for the next few weeks.  People have donated clothing, blankets and gift cards.

“It makes us feel good about our community,” Fenton said of all the support.

Fenton said he was thankful to all those who donated and who offered helped.  Life is moving along for the Fenton’s. The family has rented a home nearby and will moving in soon.  They are beginning to start the rebuilding process again with the Las Palmas property. Fenton expects to be back in his home in about a year but the loss still hangs heavy in their hearts.

“Even though we have insurance, we live in a good community and I have a good job it is still difficult.  All our stuff is gone,” he said.

Stefani said the home and most all of the contents are a total loss.

Fenton said they felt lucky that no one was at home at the time.

“I think for the first time ever we were all gone,” he said.

However the only thing they had left were the clothes on their back when they left the house to run errands.  Through fire, smoke and water damage everything in the home is gone.

“The washer and dryer looked [okay] but we were told because of the smoke the computer inside the [appliances] were damaged,” he said.

But it is those items that fill a life—that are irreplaceable that the family is working through now.

“You get haunted by the memory of the things and what they had to do with your life,” he said. “Lisa’s wedding dress was in the attic.”

The family dogs all survived the fire and the confusion when their backyard domain filled with firefighters.

At the end of the day Fenton said he was grateful that no one was injured and is overwhelmed by the community support.

Fenton added they felt lucky that no one was at home at the time.

“I think for the first time ever we were all gone,” he said.

However the only thing they had left were the clothes on their back when they left the house to run errands.

Even before the fire was out, CV Weekly had begun receiving emails and phone calls from those who wanted to help the Fenton family. Donations can be mailed to the Fenton’s, 3430 Las Palmas Avenue, Montrose, CA 91208.  Gift cards are a suggested donation.

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