On June 22, Elasah Smith and her husband Isaac left their home on Highway 99 to visit her mother. Less than 30 minutes later, their roommate called, panicked.
The house was engulfed in flames.
“That’s the strangest thing about it,” she said. “We could have been in the house.”
The Smiths and their three sons, ages 10, eight and four, weren’t in the house that night but everything they owned was including the laptop 10-year-old Phoenix received for his birthday three days earlier and all of the recipes Isaac, a cook at Jack Sprats, had spent years developing.
“We’re starting over and it’s really strange,” Elasah said. “I keep thinking, when people ask what we need, I think ‘Oh, I have that.’ But we don’t.”
Since the fire, the family has seen an outpouring of donations and Isaac’s sister has set up a GoFundMe page for the family that has raised $885.
The morning after the fire, Elasah said she was grateful for the donations because she didn’t have new clothes for her sons to wear, their wardrobes having burned in the fire.
“It’s funny,” she said. “There were only a few things not destroyed and one of them was the suitcase full of photos of the family and they didn’t even get wet. They weren’t stuck together or anything and it’s literally all of what I had of the boys growing up and it was all in one place.”
Elasah, who was born in Cottage Grove when the city still had a maternity ward, said the family is staying with her parents until they can get back on their feet.
They were renting the house on Hwy. 99 for approximately one year but have plans to stay in the city.
“It’s just been so much love,” she said. “Even the cashier at Bi-Mart when we went to get some toiletries, came and hugged us.” She also noted that she was grateful for the firefighters who responded to the call and credited them, and their neighbors, with saving her roommate’s life.
“She had just laid down to go to sleep. I am so grateful because sometimes the boys are back deeper in the house and recognizing that it’s a loss but it could have been catastrophic loss because we didn’t lose our lives.”
No cause for the fire has been released. The family’s gofundme page can be viewed at https://www.gofundme.com/h2y4j-smith-family-house-burnt-down.