South Cove family amazed by support after house fire

January 5, 2009

By Jim Feehan

Jessica and Paul Smith take an inventory of the items donated to them after a fire destroyed their South Cove house in December, as their 1-year-old son Grayson looks on. The items are stored in the basement of Jessica’s parents’ home in Bellevue, where they’re staying. Contributed.Jessica and Paul Smith take an inventory of the items donated to them after a fire destroyed their South Cove house in December, as their 1-year-old son Grayson looks on. The items are stored in the basement of Jessica’s parents’ home in Bellevue, where they’re staying. Contributed.

Jessica and Paul Smith have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from neighbors, co-workers and people in the community following a Dec. 21 fire that destroyed their South Cove home. 

The acts of kindness and generosity have been boundless, the Smiths said. South Cove neighborhood children donated $700 that they raised shoveling snow. Friend, neighbors and total strangers have donated items including cash, gift cards, clothing, running shoes, blankets, bedding, blankets, toiletries and luggage. The items fill the basement of Jessica’s parents home in Bellevue, where the couple and their 1-year-old son Grayson have stayed since the blaze.“Quite simply, it’s overwhelming. It’s a good overwhelming,” said Jessica Smith, a part-time third-grade teacher at Newcastle Elementary School. “We feel so blessed by what everyone has done for us.”

Grayson will be outfitted in clothing for the next two years and he has more toys than before the fire, she said. The Smiths have also received several baby items. Jessica Smith is five months pregnant; she’ll find out the child’s gender Jan. 13, she said.

The fire remains under investigation, but officials said they were 90 percent certain the blaze began in the kitchen, Paul Smith said. How it started is uncertain, he said.

The Smiths were at a relative’s house having dinner at the time of the fire. Shortly after 4 p.m., Steve Sanelli, a neighbor, spotted smoke coming from the back of the house.

The blaze caused about $600,000 in damage, according to Gerry Kenny, a fire investigator for the King County Sheriff’s Office. Sanelli and his family, as well as neighbors Matt and Cindy Wimmer, organized a relief effort for the Smiths.

The fire came two days prior to the Smith’s three-year anniversary of owning the house, Jessica Smith said. The couple plan to return to South Cove and rent a house in the neighborhood.

“We just love the neighborhood and we realize even more so now that we want to raise our children here to see them graduate,” Jessica Smith said.

Paul Smith, a general contractor, said the fire has taught the family the importance of community.

“I’m so humbled and grateful,” he said. “This whole experience has been overwhelming, amazing and the sheer volume of generosity has floored me.”

No one could be reached to talk about a Dec. 23 fire that destroyed a house off Southeast Tiger Mountain Road south of Issaquah. Earlier that day, a neighbor had taken the owners of the house —  an elderly couple — to SeaTac airport, where they flew to Salt Lake City to visit  their son for Christmas.

The cause of that fire is still under investigation.

Reach Reporter Jim Feehan at 392-6434, ext. 239, or jfeehan@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.

Bookmark and Share

Comments

One Response to “South Cove family amazed by support after house fire”

  1. Helena Harper on January 6th, 2009 10:41 am

    A wonderful illustration of good coming out of bad. Generosity like this is inspiring. If we were all to follow this example,

    ‘ imagine the world we would create!
    Each of us treating strangers
    as our other half,
    where nothing was too much
    for the well-being of another
    and selfishness was forgotten,
    a thing of the past.’
    (from ‘Family and More – Enemies or Friends?’)

    Thank you for this story!

    Helena Harper
    http://www.helenaharper.com

Got something to say?

Before you comment, please note:

  • These comments are moderated.
  • Comments should be relevant to the topic at hand and contribute to its discussion.
  • Personal attacks and/or excessive profanity will not be tolerated and such comments will not be approved.
  • This is not your personal chat room or forum, so please stay on topic.