Photos by Patrick Robinson
Eileen Riddle, husband Greg and their daughter lost their home to a fire on Jan. 26. The family had to move to a hotel until last week which meant caring for Greg, who has terminal cancer, more difficult. The community has come forward to donate more than $9000 to help the family.

UPDATE: Fire victim overwhelmed by community generosity; More than $9000 raised

When Eileen and Greg Riddle's home near Roxhill Elementry School burned on Jan. 26 she knew i it was just another burden to bear. Greg, suffering from terminal cancer requires Eileen's care and attention. But the fire that started in the garage as they slept, did not set off the smoke detectors and only the sound of the fire itself woke the family. They barely escaped with what they could throw on to run outside.

When the West Seattle Herald interviewed Eileen later in the day on the 26th, she only knew the Red Cross would help them with temporary housing and that the insurance company would take some time before any kind of return to normal was possible. They had to stay in a hotel for until last week which made caring for Greg more difficult.

After the story was published, an account was set up at Sterling Savings Bank for donations and help began to come in. People offered clothing and furniture but with nowhere to live and put things those offers, while appreciated, had to wait. Then other media outlets picked up on the story including the Herald's news partner Q13 Fox News and an online funding site was set up by Kristine Elliott.

Here's what happened. The Sterling Savings account has collected more than $4400 with a donation from her employer included and the original online funding goal of $2500 was passed quickly so a new goal of $5000 was set. Amazingly, that total as of Feb. 9 was $4,646 bringing the total to more than $9000. Eileen said she was "overwhelmed" by the outpouring of support for her family. At last check Greg was hanging on and doing ok and the family was able to move into a rental house, make the first and last month's rent payment and are planning to do some clothes shopping to have something to wear. The insurance company has helped get some rented furniture for the rental house and they moved in last Wednesday.

Her brother Dayne Turgeon said, "She's way better off now after your story than they were just two weeks ago." Eileen has taken time off work until April 10, to deal with the fire and issues for Greg so any further help would go a long way. "One of her neighbors offered her $1000 but she turned it down because she knows the neighbor doesn't have that kind of money," Turgeon said. "She said there are no words to describe how kind everyone has been."

If you'd like to help them, they don't have far to go to the goal either drop off a donation at any Sterling Savings Bank for the Eileen Riddle fund or visit http://www.gofundme.com/6ikduc and make a donation of any size.

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