Early Thursday morning (9/14/17), our beloved mother's home caught on fire, and she was trapped in her wheelchair. Our family and neighbors tried desperately to get her out and to hose down the flames until the firefighters arrived. They arrived very quickly, but unfortunately she was severely burned on over 70% of her body. She is currently in a medically induced coma at the Maricopa County Hospital Burn Unit. She also suffered a lot of respiratory tract damage due to the smoke inhalation, and is having difficulty breathing, even with the machines. Her kidneys are now failing and they have put her on dialysis and have warned us that she has only a 20% chance of surviving this, and if she does she will need numerous skin grafts and the recovery process will be very long and painful. Needless to say, we are completely heartbroken!
The Fire Department said they believe it was started due to a problem with the air conditioning unit in Mom's bedroom. Fortunately, her grandson James and most of her beloved pets were able to escape. However, one of her beloved little dogs was too badly injured and had to be put to sleep. The precious home, which she has lived in since she was a young girl, is a complete loss. The additional back house which our grandfather built and where my husband and I live survived, but the electricity to that house has been turned off, until APS can separate the wiring between the two houses and everything can be repaired and deemed safe. As a result, my husband, myself, my nephew, and our pets are all displaced.
To make matters worse, Mom did not have homeowners insurance.
So, we are facing many unexpected health and home expenses that we simply can not afford. We have always done whatever it took to get by and not ask others for help, but this time we are faced with obstacles that are too overwhelming for us to handle on our own.
Our mom is such a special person and is adored in our community! She devoted her life to being the best wife, mother, grandmother, and teacher she could be. She is even considered a grandmother to all of the neighborhood kids that she has taken under her wing all of these years. She is fondly remembered by her colleagues and former students, as she was a phenomenal teacher in the Isaac Elementary School District for 33 years. Mom is extremely talented when it comes to creating crafts and has blessed so many people with her beautiful, caring creations. She is such a sweet, sentimental soul, which makes this all so much more tragic, because so many things that are precious to her, and to all of us, were lost in the fire. Mostly, I am so horrified by what she is having to endure! She is so generous and kind and it is so unfair that this happened to her. I don't want her to suffer, but I am also so terrified that we might lose her! I wish there was more that we could do to help her! She is the heart of our family and we all love her so dearly! For now, I am trying to be strong and to take care of our family and things the way I think she would want me to. I'm trying to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. I am so overwhelmed and am just not ready to lose her.
So, please pray for her and for us, and if there is anyway that you can help us, it would be so greatly appreciated!
- Juanita Lopez
- Sandra Maben
- Rashell Conway
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