Pictured on your left is what is left of the house that Kirk and Julie Summey once called home. Last Monday, while everyone in the family was out working or running errands, their East Toledo house caught fire and burned to the ground.
I walked in front of the house this evening and stared at the charred debris, trying to recognize the pieces that once were part of the lives of the Summeys. For the most part there was nothing salvageable, though a child's swingset and an RV out back seem to have survived.
Unfortunately for the Summeys, they did not have content insurance, and this Toledo family is starting over completely from scratch. In almost an insulting twist of fate, their insurance also did not provide for post-fire cleanup, and the Summeys were facing the prospect of paying up to $10K to clear the rubble until a neighbor stepped in and agreed to clean out the lot in exchange for the title to the soon-to-be-vacant lot.
I know Kirk and Julie through their volunteer work with Planned Pethood, and I am sad to report that although no family members were home, all five of the dogs and a litter of cats died in the fire. Three of the dogs were PPI fosters, and I cannot imagine the horror of not only seeing your house in flames and all the while knowing of the poor animals trapped inside.
Something bizarre I learned today: homeowners without content insurance actually have to pay to get the fire department to investigate a fire. Normally the insurance company will pay for the investigation so they can rule out arson as a cause, but since there is no financial incentive here, the Summeys would have to cough up about five grand to investigate their own house fire.
Strange, but even stranger is the complete lack of local media coverage on the fire and of the couple's plight.
My wife and I visited briefly with Julie Summey this evening, dropping off what we could afford to help with from the lengthy list of necessities someone emailed us. Yet even the generosity of the other folks who already donated is woefully inadequate to help a family who lost everything they owned. For the moment they have a place to live, but soon they will have to start paying rent, utilities, and begin slowly replacing the many possessions that they lost.
Donations to help Kirk and Julie are being accepted at First Federal Bank branches, and this is listed as the "Summey Family Fire Victim Fund." Here are the branches in Northwest Ohio that are participating, and if you live out of the area you can call the bank at 1-877-FOR- U1ST (367-8178) for information on electronic donations:
2760 Navarre Ave, Oregon, OH
417 W Dussel Dr, Maumee, OH
1077 Louisiana Ave, Perrysburg, OH
3234 N Holland Sylvania Rd, Toledo, OH
22020 W State Route 51, Genoa, OH
1226 W Wooster St, Bowling Green, OH
Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.