MORAN — An early morning fire that destroyed the home of Dale and Jenny Louk left them and their three children with little more than the clothes on their back Tuesday.
The Louks and children Zachary, 16, Ashtyn, 13, and Nathan, 6, were uninjured in the fire at 3803 Minnesota Rd.
The family was awakened by the smell of smoke shortly after 1 a.m., Dale Louk told the Register.
He investigated the source of the smoke and found that an area near a wood furnace in the home’s adjoining shop was on fire.
“I had one fire extinguisher, but it wasn’t nearly big enough or soon enough to put the fire out,” he said.
Louk awakened the rest of the family, who grabbed a few essentials before fleeing outside. Louk was able to retrieve the family’s vehicles from their garage as well.
“A million things are racing through your mind, when you’re deciding what to grab,” he said.
The fire quickly spread from there.
The house was considered a total loss.
“The important part was that nobody was hurt,” he said.
THE BLAZE also sparked a wave of community giving that has Louk grateful to have such generous friends and neighbors.
Zachary’s friends at Marmaton Valley High School solicited cash donations throughout the school to help replace one of his most prized possessions — his iPod.
The school’s Family, Career and Community Leaders of America chapter spent the day preparing a spaghetti meal and bake sale for a fund raiser at Tuesday evening’s home basketball games.
The endeavors brought in about $3,000.
The family will stay at the home of Jenny Louk’s parents, Melvin and Jonet Bland, until they can rebuild their home.
Since the fire, neighbors have brought in “bags filled with clothes,” Dale Louk said. “We’re all different sizes, so we sort through and find what can fit.”
The family had home insurance.
The Louks built the house and adjoining shop about 10 years ago and plan to rebuild there again, he said.
“That’s been the hardest part, knowing how much work was put into this place,” he said.
“We’ve been able to retrieve some of our old photographs,” he said, “although some are a bit smaller than they were.”
Through it all, they’ve kept a brave face, he said.
The children seem to have coped well with the disaster, Louk said. “I think they’re handling it better than I am.”
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