Help Make Shift Happen for Julie Voice & Family.

Lake County News - Northshore home damaged in Monday night fire Shift happens. My twelve year old son and I have had a lot of defining moments in our lives. Perhaps you and I are friends or family, maybe you already know some of what’s happened or it may be you hardly even know me. Hi, it’s Julie Voice and this is the latest one of me and Owen’s defining moments.

We’ve all seen the devastation and destruction caused by fire throughout the state of California these past few years. Especially hard hit areas of Lake and Mendocino Counties where my son and I had called home.

Monday February 18, 2019 was President’s Day so my son had the day off from Upper Lake Middle School. He was excited to get back to school the next day as he had been sick with fever the week before and missed the whole week of school. My partner Mayank Saxena had come over for the weekend and decided to stay through Monday to spend more quality time with us. That morning I had work in Ukiah, CA at The Happy Herb Shop, so Owen and Mayank came along and hung out in Ukiah while I worked. After I closed up the shop we went over to The Ukiah Natural Food Co-op where we bought yummy snacks and some groceries. After we got home in Nice, CA we ate dinner together while watching the latest episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on HBO.

Our home cooked whole food plant based meal was just about the best meals we’ve ever eaten. I was about to get up for a second helping of curried chickpeas and lentils with collard greens, roasted onions, cauliflower, and asparagus when I smelt smoke. I checked outside but the smell was stronger inside. As I turned towards my bedroom the smell got more intense. I opened the door to my room and it was filled with hazy smoke. I called for Mayank to come quick, “Oh my God, Mayank, there’s smoke in here!” We opened the window and started investigating where it was coming from. My heart and mind was racing. Minutes later the smoke detector started going offand within another minute the fire alarm stated, “FIRE, FIRE, GET OUT” and repeated over and over while ringing its high pitched alarm. Mayank had been feeling doors for heat, I watched from the kitchen as he opened the master bedroom door and a black plume of smoke poured out.  My heart felt as if it had scattered across the house in every direction. “We have to get out now.” Mayank got my cell phone and called 911 at 8:32pm. We got Owen outside while he held one of our cats in his arms. Mayank and I grabbed the few essential items we could and looked desperately for the other cat. At this point the whole house was filled with black smoke. Mayank found the other cat under a chair, he lifted up the chair and I was able to grab her and we fled the house. The fire department finally arrived on the scene about 8:47pm.

Life is amazing and crazy at times. We were all safe. Life survived. It took the fire department over an hour to get the flames out. Our neighbors were kind enough to invite us into their home where we stayed the night. It was discovered that the fire most likely started at the hot water heater. This was my father’s house. He’s been so kind and generous extending his place to us out of love and economic reasons as I had been laid off not once, not twice but three times from previous employment. The homeowners insurance declared the house “totaled” as the damages exceed the value of the house. Because of this, insurance will not cover re-building or help with temporary housing. As for me and my son’s personal belongings, since I was only living there temporarily, I am not listed on the insurance and not covered. We are so grateful the fire fighters literally saved my son’s sparkly blue Ludwig drum set he calls “Mr. Blue Sky”.

I have started this GoFundMe campaign out of need. I am asking for your help getting us back on our feet. Owen had to say goodbye to all his friends, teachers, and peers at Upper Lake Middle School on Friday February 22, 2019 as we have been displaced. For now we are currently staying in Mayank’s one bedroom apartment in Davis, California. I am very grateful to have such a strong, generous, and courageous partner who’s opened his heart and home to us. Within the next six months we need to find a larger living space.

This has been a huge shock to us all and it’s been taking a toll on our emotional and physical health. My room and everything in it was completely destroyed by fire, water damage and roof collapse. I’ve been making some purchases this weekend to start replacing necessities like clothes, shoes, toiletries, human food, and cat food. But I am no longer employed and I don’t have sustainable income at this time. We need your donation to help during this transition, help us make the shift we need happen. Be well, stay well, and thank you.
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Julie Voice
Nice, CA

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