December 21, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
29°F
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Family needs a new home

Nicole King’s rental house was destroyed by fire

LORAIN — Single mother Nicole King and her five young children may find themselves homeless today unless they can come up with some money to stay in the hotel room where they’ve been living since a fire ravaged their West 22nd Street home Tuesday.
“The Red Cross gave us $900, but, day by day, that won’t last long,” King said. “Every day my baby asks when we get to go home. He’s not old enough to understand.”
There’s only so much the American Red Cross of Lorain County, which is trying to help the family, can do, said John Vega, the charity’s emergency services coordinator.
“She is going to need a lot more help than we can provide,” Vega said. “We have put them up in a hotel and provided some assistance for basic necessities like clothing and supplies.”
To escape the cramped hotel room, King has spent much of the past two days at her mother’s house in Lorain. But she said her mother, Cheryl Ward, does not have enough room in her small two-bedroom home to house King and her children, who range in age from
8 months to 4 years old.
“We’re looking for a three-bedroom,” King said. “Anything else is too small for me and my kids.”
After losing all their toys, King’s youngest two boys make do with a handful of baseball cards and an old hammer scavenged from their grandmother’s home.
King said she is hoping to get on a waiting list for public housing, but does not know how long she will have to wait.
King said she wants to stay in Lorain so her kids will not have to switch schools. Two of her boys are in preschool; one is set to start kindergarten in the fall.
The house she rented, valued at $85,000, was considered a total loss, according to a Lorain fire report. The contents of the house were valued at an additional $15,000, the report said. King did not have renter’s insurance.
The fire quickly spread through the house’s walls and attic because of its design, and firefighters battled the flames for more than two hours before the fire was contained.
King said she had asked her landlord in October to install smoke detectors in the home, but there was only the empty shell of a smoke detector in the living room. Lorain assistant Fire Chief Gary Burls said there were no smoke detectors in the house.
Ward and one of her nephews, who smelled smoke, were able to get the children out without anyone being injured.
Lorain firefighters are still investigating the fire, which started in a downstairs bedroom.
Anyone interested in helping King should contact her at (440) 714-4889 or (440) 242-4014.
Contact Ben Norris at 329-7119
or bnorris@chroniclet.com.