Despotovic Family House Fire

On Sunday, December 17, 2017, my family of 4 narrowly escaped a house fire. My babies (6y and 5m Boys) are fine. My husband is fine. I am fine. My cat is fine. However my sweet cool attentive loyal loving little dog Levi did not share the same fortune. He was trapped by the smoke and died. This has been very hard to cope with. I had put him in the garage just about 30 min before the fire.

The fire department in Tulsa did a fantastic job. For which I will be eternally thankful. Firemen contained the fire to mostly the garage where the fire started (likely electrical). The cause has been deemed ‘Undetermined’.

The fire took our entire garage and contents including our 2 cars. It also left heavy soot and smoke damage throughout the house so EVERYTHING will need to be professionally cleaned or replaced. The house will have to be taken down to the studs and re-built. We will be in a temporary home for at least 6 months. Essentially we will be starting over.

I am thankful to have amazing family, friends and neighbors. My husband was a hero who immediately sprung into action and made sure we were safe. In the first moments of sheer panic, he was thoughtful and decisive. My neighbor was amazing, taking us in immediately and sheltering and clothing us (we were in our pj’s). Another neighbor has let us use her garage space for storage of smoke damaged valuables. I could speak on and on about the generosity of my neighbor friends and my family.

Many people have asked if there is anything that we need. Honestly, I would love for you to please all take a moment to discuss and practice with your family a fire evacuation plan. Make sure your smoke alarms are working and pictures of your personal belongings. We will likely spend the next week or more trying to do just that.

Of course it is always thought of to accept donations. At first I thought, insurance will cover this... but I’ve learned the reality is that we will still need to cover deductibles (house, 2 autos, cellular devices, and computer). Plus initially we will cover the depreciated value of contents. And of course anything our policy does not cover or we reach our cap on. As of now, that looks like things like: computers (only up to a certain dollar amount), babysitting (so we can inventory items lost in the fire), and our beloved Levi who of course can’t be replaced but eventually we will want a family dog again. That all adds up QUICK! Plus anytime we need to take off of work because they won’t replace lost income either.

This is all such a learning process. A VERY tough one.

Side Note: I encourage everyone to set down with your insurance agent and review what your policies cover compared to your assets. Make sure you have sufficient coverage in case of an event like this.

Thankfully, we were able to save some of our beloved items. Nenad’s guitar he brought from Serbia (he rescued that immediately, lol). A firefighter went in our smokey house and retrieved a box of my Grandfather’s baby pictures. Our Christmas presents were able to be cleaned and re-wrapped (thank you to our neighbor Kristen for your help with that). Another neighbor, Stephanie, found inside of a totally melted box in our front yard, my baby book!!! And who knows what else we might find that can’t be replaced when we start the load out process.

I am so thankful, most of all, that my family is safe. Had we been asleep, Im sure we would have ended up in the hospital or worse. I’m thankful we were home. Had we been gone, our whole house would have been a loss. So much to be thankful for. So much to mourn and so much to do. Repairing and starting over in many ways.

Hug those babies extra tight tonight and keep my boys and I in your prayers during this difficult time.

Humbled,
Jenny Lu Taylor Despotovic
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Organizer

Jenny Lu Taylor Despotovic 
Organizer
Tulsa, OK
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