After helping kids to safety, Edmonds woman launches donation drive for fire victims

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A bystander watches behind the caution tape as firefighters respond to Tuesday’s fire. (Photo by Swan Seaberg)

An Edmonds woman who spotted smoke coming out of a house  late Tuesday afternoon not only called 9-1-1 and made sure three children inside the home got out safely, she is now collecting cash, clothes and food for the family displaced in the fire.

Heather Porrelli James was driving home from grocery shopping Tuesday when she saw the house on fire in the 20500 block of 80th Avenue West. As firefighters responded, her car was trapped by fire trucks, “so I sat down and got to the know the family,” James said in a Facebook post.

“I’m meeting these people on what might be their worst day ever and they were so sweet and so thankful for the help,” James added.

Fire District 1 spokesman Leslie Hynes said that James “really went above and beyond” for the family. Not only did James stay with the children — ages 15, 11 and 6 — to comfort them as police and firefighters arrived, she remained after the kids’ parents arrived on the scene.

“She handed out Popsicles (from her groceries) to the kids and first responders,” Hynes said. “She also had fresh-baked pizzas that she shared with the family.”

“We are thankful for her willingness to get involved and help her neighbors and first responders,” Hynes added. “Her concern and compassion was really heartwarming.

After returning home from the fire, James — who owns Namaste Salon and Spa in the Five Corners neighborhood —  posted a note on Facebook asking for donations of clothing, food and cash to help the family, who were renting the home and didn’t have renters insurance. The front desk at Namaste Salon also has a collection jar and clients have been generous, she said.

“Anyone is welcome to bring any donations here to the salon,” she added. Most urgently needed is clothing for the two boys, whose bedrooms were badly damaged. One boy wears a clothing size 10-12 and the other a size 16.

Namaste Salon and Spa is located at 8325 212th St. S.W. Hours are Thursday 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Hynes from Fire District 1 said the Red Cross is providing shelter for the family.

8 COMMENTS

  1. With this donation money and the family finding a different rental home, renters’ insurance should be mandatory.

  2. I think Christine’s point is not only valid but in this case would help with the future. I think (community can help this family.). Did it burn to ground? or will they be able to get back in after the damage is fixed?

  3. My leases have required proof of renters insurance for over 10 years. It costs 5-12 dollars a month depending on the policy. I hope they are able to afford it after this incident.

  4. Wow, instead of criticizing this family for not having renters insurance let’s ask why the homeowner didn’t ensure that his renters have insurance.

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