A family of eight lost all of its belongings in a rural house fire west of McCool Junction on Saturday morning.
“Thankfully I woke up from all the popping and sounds coming from the garage, where the fire started,” said Chris Wize, who rented the rural home. “If I wouldn’t have woken up right then, I don’t know what would have happened.”
Wize said he got out of bed and saw the garage was on fire. He and his wife, Katie — along with their infant daughter — were able to exit the house.
“By the time we got out of the house, the fire was in the kitchen,” Wize said.
No one was injured, but all the family's belongings were lost. Firefighters remained on the scene for hours.
The Wizes have six children, but only an infant girl was home with the couple at the time of the fire.
“The other kids were staying elsewhere. I can’t imagine what it would have been like getting all the kids out of the house with the fire spreading that fast.”
The Wize family includes a 15-year-old boy, an 11-year-old boy and girl, a 9-year-old boy, a 6-year-old girl and an infant girl. Donations are being sought regarding clothes for the kids – which can be taken to 1733 N. Nebraska Ave. in York.
Wize, who is the wastewater director for York, said they are staying in a hotel in York and “just trying to figure out where we go from here. We lost everything but we are all OK, which is what matters.”
He said a fire investigator told him the fire likely started because of a power strip malfunction in the garage.
“Structural-wise and damage-wise, there’s no going back,” Wize said. “But again, we are OK and we will figure out where we go from here.”
The fund, which helps low-income homeowners pay for things like past-due mortgage payments and delinquent real estate taxes, is increasing its aid cap and offering assistance with past-due utilities payments.