COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. — A family of 11 has been left homeless after a fire ripped through their Cottage Grove house.
Mother of nine, Amanda Wilder, says she was getting her 5-year-old ready for the day when her 4-year-old came in the nursery and said there was a fire in the next room.
Wilder says she rushed to put it out, but before she could do anything, the fire grew out of control.
“I said wait here, I went back in my bedroom and it was this an orange blaze. And I grabbed the blanket, started putting it out,” Wilder said.
But she says it was too late.
“I grabbed pillows, and I know I ran and got a bucket of water to throw on the fire. I ran and got my fire extinguisher pulled the key off of it, there was no charge. And that’s when I just gave up and said let’s go,” Wilder said.
Once fire crews arrived, South Lane County Fire and Rescue Chief Joe Raade says the house was destroyed.
“There wasn’t a lot of visible flame, a lot of smoke. A lot of fire to the back of the house when we arrived,” Raade said.
Raade says the cause is still under investigation, but they believe it may have been started by kids playing with matches.
“They brought me a couple scrap books that are burnt,” Wilder said.
While her family is safe, Wilder says it’s the loss of family mementos that can’t be replaced that’s hurting her right now.
“A lot of the newer photos. My 4-year-old, 3-year-old, their scrap books were in my bedroom where I do all my crafting and scrapbooking. It’s all gone,” Wilder said.
But her neighbors are behind her 100 percent.
“I just went to Goodwill, got her some shoes because she don’t have nothing on her feet,” said neighbor Betty Krell.
Krell lives across the street from the Wilders. She’s one of a number of people who are helping the family.
“For a thousand a month, you don’t, you don’t find a house that’s a four-bedroom house for nine kids,” Wilder said.
The Wilders plan on staying with Amanda’s parents in Oakridge until they can find another place to live.
South Lane County Fire and Rescue says damage estimates are around $200,000 and the family did not have renters insurance. The Red Cross and other local agencies are also reaching out to the family.
Donations of items for the family are being collected at the Cottage Grove Station of South Lane County Fire and Rescue, located at 233 East Harrison in Cottage Grove.