BELLINGHAM - A dryer fire in a Bellingham apartment Wednesday night, Dec. 12, displaced a family of four, but friends are pulling together to help them get back on their feet.
Crews from Bellingham Fire Department responded to a fire call shortly after 10 p.m. at the Evergreen Ridge apartment complex at Woburn Street and Sunset Drive.
The dryer in one of the apartments had caught fire, and fire and heavy smoke filled the apartment. Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze quickly, and the apartment received moderate damage, according to the fire department.
Sarah Bede-Morrell, who lived in the apartment with her husband and their two young sons, said the fire gutted the laundry area and kitchen. Smoke damaged everything else, and the couple didn't have renters' insurance. She's pregnant with the couple's third child, due Dec. 22.
Bede-Morrell was at a friend's house when she got the call from her husband, Sean, that the dryer had caught fire. He thought he had extinguished it, but she told him to call the fire department anyway and to take their two kids out of the apartment.
It was a good thing he did, because the fire rekindled and spread. He called his wife a few minutes later to tell her that firefighters were spraying water into the apartment and he wasn't allowed back in.
She said she panicked when she heard the news.
"I don't know what I'm going to do and how I'm going to pay for this, and I'm having a baby in a few days," she said. "My mind was racing."
The family is staying with friends, and their friends are collecting donations to help replace possessions they've lost: children's clothes, household goods, blankets and baby items. Someone already dropped off shoes for her husband - who ran outside barefoot with the kids - and she's focusing on making things right for her kids.
"I'm just trying my best," she said.
HOW TO HELP
Friends and local businesses have come together to collect donations for the Bede-Morrell family.
People can donate to the "Bede-Morrell Donation Fund" at Whatcom Educational Credit Union locations.
Donations of food and clothing can be dropped off at Rikka Storman's home, 3023 Hayward Court, in Bellingham. The boys' sizes are 18-24 months and 4T or 5 slim.
RED Services is offering free dryer vent inspections and cleanings for people in exchange for donations of food, clothing, household goods or cash to the Bede-Morrell family. Call 360-510-8176 to schedule an appointment.
Forever Fit, 2130 Grant St., is offering free boot camp classes 8 a.m. Saturdays through December in exchange for donations to the family.