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Andersons pick up pieces after fire

Their home burned June 10, destroying everything except the contents of their garage
by: Barbara Adams, Two weeks after their Estacada home burned, Kandi (right), James and Donald Anderson sift through the charred remains and wait for word from their insurance company.

One of James Anderson's challenges since his family's house burned down June 10 has been finding a pair of size 15 shoes to wear.

After hearing about his dilemma, Skip-A-Week Quilting Club gave the family a check for $200 to help them find 15-year-old James a good pair of shoes, along with a promise. 'They want to give us some quilts for the family,' Kandi Anderson, James' mom, said.

While the quilting club works on making quilts for the family, the Andersons are getting by in a two-bedroom apartment near Rivermill Elementary, just around the corner from their charred home.

Two camping chairs, a papasan chair from Mike's Second Hand store, and a rocking chair circle a television in the living room. Inflatable camping mattresses salvaged from their unburned detached garage serve as their beds. The kitchen is stocked with donated food, and in the dining room shoes are lined against the wall. Besides their tools and a few all terrain vehicles in their garage, this is all the Anderson family has.

On Saturday, June 10 Kandi, 44, and Donald, 45, decided to have breakfast at Boots and Spurs Restaurant.

At the same time, James was home alone, talking to a friend on the phone in his bedroom. He went into the living room and discovered the back deck on fire. James called his dad, but was disconnected. He then called 911, ran back into his bedroom to rescue his pet iguana, then knocked down a door and ran outside.

Meanwhile, as his parents began looking over the menu, Donald's cell phone rang, but there was no one at the other end. He went outside to see if he could get better reception, and noticed a column of smoke coming from the direction of his house. Donald went back inside and told Kandi he was going to drive home to investigate.

By the time the fire department arrived, half of the home was already engulfed in flames.

Everything in the home was lost. The only casualty was their three-legged cat, Raine, who was found by firefighters in 13-year-old Michael's bedroom. Michael's bedroom door was closed during the fire, and was the only room in the house not burned. The cat died from smoke inhalation.

'If you just walked into his room you wouldn't know there was a fire, except for the smoke smell,' Kandi said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. It is believed to have started outside, possibly under the wood deck in the backyard.

The family stayed at the Red Fox Motel right after the fire. On June 15 they moved into the Cascade Village Apartments with only a few bags of belongings. The Red Cross gave the two boys sleeping bags and blankets. Family members helped by donating a few chairs.

'We've had a lot of people offer help,' Kandi said. 'Don really doesn't want to accumulate a lot of stuff-just keep it simple.'

The Andersons are now waiting for their insurance company to make a settlement for the contents of the house and the value of the home. Donald said he would like to rebuild on the same flag lot their home is on, across from Rivermill Elementary. Kandi said she wants to stay in the Estacada area, but has mixed feelings about moving back to the property where she lost everything.