Pasco family homeless after tree blaze

Dori O'Neal, Tri-City HeraldDecember 27, 2013 

Seven members of the Rosario Farias family found themselves homeless the day after Christmas after a fire broke out in the basement of their Pasco home.

Fire investigators concluded Friday that a live Christmas tree was too close to a fireplace and sparked the blaze that quickly spread.

Family members escaped the burning home, though two suffered minor injuries, said Battalion Chief Dave Ferguson with the Pasco Fire Department.

"The home my mom worked so hard to be able to give to her kids, her grandkids, family, and an unforgettable amount of foster kids. ... It broke my heart to see flames working their way through all of our memories," said Lila Farias in a post on the Herald's Facebook page. "RIP to the home where we failed and succeeded all at the same time."

The family took refuge with neighbors Thursday night and were being helped Friday by the Benton-Franklin Chapter of the American Red Cross, with support from the Pasco Fire Department's chaplain, Krista Weeks.

The fire started shortly before 6 p.m. and flames were shooting out the basement windows by the time fire crews arrived, said Ferguson.

"There was major damage to the basement and the fire also got into the attic, causing some damage there," said Battalion Chief Don Donais. "The main floor of the home also had smoke and water damage."

Weeks said the Red Cross found temporary housing for the Farias family. She believes they did not have insurance.

Anyone who would like to help the family can contact the Red Cross office in Kennewick at 783-6195.

-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @dorioneal

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