LIMA — Though it has been two years, Rachel is still trying to recoup from what she called the worst day of her life.
While cooking, a grease fire broke out that Rachel was unable to contain. Like most grease fires, it quickly encompassed the entire kitchen. What wasn’t damaged in the fire was ruined from either smoke damage or water damage when the fire was being put out.
“We left with no couches, no bed, I mean I left everything. We just got the little things that we could grab,” recalled Rachel, not her real name. “The firefighters just kept trying to calm me down — I shake now just talking about it still — they kept trying to talk me down. I understand they meant good, but it’s not going to change what happened. Then, for it to be a grease fire and me cooking, I was so hard on myself.”
On top of losing nearly all of her belongings, Rachel still deals with that guilt, anxiety and memories of the day, as do her three children, ages 6, 8 and 11.
“To this day, I still haven’t cooked with grease — I refuse to,” Rachel explained. “Also, my kids talk about it all the time. They use it as like a timeframe. They’ll be like, ‘Mommy, do you remember this? It was at the house with the fire.’”
Rachel was able to refurnish much of the place she’s now staying with the help of the Red Cross and by shopping at thrift stores. With those resources, she was able to get the bare necessities such as couches, beds and basic clothes. Due to the nature of the fire, Rachel said her family could still use help with kitchen items including dishes, silverware and additional cookware.
When it comes to Christmas time, Rachel said her children are smart enough to know that Santa doesn’t shop at thrift stores.
“They can tell if it’s been used, my oldest especially, she’s quick,” Rachel explained. “She will be like, ‘It says there’s five pieces in here, and I only see four,’ so I learned my lesson there… That’s all they keep talking about is Santa is going to bring all kinds of Pokemon cards, and I’m thinking ‘Well, we will see.’”
Rachel’s oldest daughter, 11, whose favorite thing to do is crafting, has been asking Santa for a cotton candy maker and a scrunchie maker kit. Her other daughter, 8, has been asking for L.O.L. Surprise! or Polly Pocket dolls, while her son, 6, loves all things Pokemon and Fortnite.
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.