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Fire Destroys Home Of Well Known Local - Community Stepping Up

Fire Destroys Home Of Well Known Local - Community Stepping Up

    Customers of Umatilla’s Ace Hardware will remember former longtime employee Jon Wilson’s smiling face and desire to help.  Now, the community is stepping forward to return the favor, as Wilson looks to rebuild his life after his home was consumed by fire.
    Lake County Fire Rescue responded to Wilson’s home at 45631 Palm Street in the Lake Kathryn area just after midnight on Tuesday, November 16.  They found the mobile home in flames, with Wilson, three sons, two cats, and a dog safely outside.
    The home was a total loss.
    “It started in my room,” Wilson said this week, with officials pointing to an electrical issue around a window unit air conditioner as the potential culprit.
    “Thank God we were able to get out,” Wilson said.
    But most of everything else was lost, including clothing, furniture, and even family photo albums. 
    “Everyone did everything they could,” Wilson said of emergency responders.  “But when a mobile home catches on fire, it’s pretty much totaled.”  While the home’s structure remained intact after the fire, the inside was totally gutted.
    The aftermath of the fire led Wilson to spend several days trying to pick up the pieces before returning to his job on Monday. He and the children have been staying with family and friends as they seek longer-term living arrangements.
    “We’re good on clothes, but I’m looking for a place to rent,” Wilson said, noting that he hopes to stay in the North Lake County area, where he has called home for many years.
    The community has been stepping up to support the family, with a Gofundme account in Wilson’s name having received nearly $9,000 in donations by Monday, and a separate account at United Southern Bank also accepting donations.
    “I appreciate it a lot,” Wilson said of the support.  “We are blessed.  Things can be replaced.”
    Donations to the USB account can be made at any branch, and checks should be written to Jon Wilson.