Family loses home in Dayton fire

  • Discuss Comment, Blog about
  • Print Friendly and PDF

Despite the fact that her Dayton home burned down last week, assistance from the Red Cross and Friends In Service Helping has made the past few days bearable for Theresa Dawson

That will all change today, however, when the family must make other accommodations. Their Red Cross room voucher at the City Center Motel expires.

"I'm not sure what we'll do," Dawson, 42, said Tuesday.

Her home, a single-wide mobile on Chukar Lane in Dayton, was lost Thursday to a fire started by a errant spark from a barbecue grill. Her boyfriend Dan Ruecker, who stayed behind, had lit the barbecue.

Dawson, who lost her job as a certified nursing assistant last month, was in Redding, Calif., at a July 4 family reunion at the time. She said she didn't believe her father-in-law when he called to deliver the news.

"He said I had half a house," she recalled. "I thought he was exaggerating."

A late-night visit Saturday when she returned to Nevada proved there was no need to exaggerate, she said.

"I have half a house. Basically from about the middle of the trailer to the front of the trailer is a disaster area. The fire burned underneath and so the floor is dangerous," she said. "I couldn't see much in the dark, but what I did see was enough for me."

With no insurance on the home and no job on the horizon, Dawson has considered staying with her 10-year-old daughter in an old car.

Her son, Michael, 25, Michael's girlfriend Valerie, 28, and the couple's three-week-old daughter Cassandra, had been staying with Dawson and her boyfriend, Dan Ruecker, since Dawson had lost her job. Ruecker is on disability.

"During the time that we weren't working, they stepped in and were helping us pay our bills," she said. "They came to help us and now they're stuck homeless too."

An option offered to Dawson after she moves out of the hotel was possibly getting a space at a Friends In Service Helping shelter.

"Beggars can't be choosers," she said. "Right now I'm in a position where I can't choose."

Michael and Valerie are asking Housing and Urban Development to help find a place for them and the baby.

With her home of five years left in ruins and the loss of her belongings, including clothing, Dawson said she's not sure what to expect next.

"This year has been one thing right after another," she sighed. "It's a mess."


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment