Dee Flieger was back at work Monday at Bingo Boulevard in Kennewick, but with a heavy heart.
A fire burned down her house Friday on North 22nd Avenue in Pasco and took the life of her Australian shepherd, Pepper.
To make matters worse, Friday was the one-year anniversary of the death of her granddaughter, Julie Johnson, 37, who was fatally shot by her husband in a murder-suicide in their home in the Mount Rainier foothills town of Eatonville.
Flieger, 80, and her husband, Ed, 76, had gone to Eatonville to take part in a memorial service for Johnson. When they came home, they had lost almost everything they owned.
“I’ll never forget it,” Dee Flieger said of the events happening on the same day.
She works 40 hours a week in the Kennewick bingo hall’s snack bar. Getting back to the place she has worked for more than 20 years was a way to keep her mind off her troubles, she said.
“We’re devastated — just devastated,” she said. “At our age, it’s kind of hard to get over.”
People have stepped in to help the Fliegers after the fire. They’re setting up a GoFundMe web page and a donation jar has been placed in the lobby at the bingo hall.
“They lost everything, they just had the clothes that were with them,” said Bingo Boulevard assistant manager Darla Novak. “We had one customer go buy her clothes for a couple outfits.”
Another co-worker, Bob Fowler, is looking for other ways to assist the couple.
“She’s one of the sweetest people on earth,” Fowler said of Dee Flieger.
Dee Flieger appreciates the support.
“They’re very good to me, the customers and employees alike,” she said. “It’s like a family here, not just co-workers.”
The Fliegers did have insurance on the house, but “not a whole lot,” Dee Flieger said.
The cause of the fire had yet to be determined Monday, Pasco Fire Battalion Chief Don Donais said. The home was fully engulfed in flames when 25 firefighters arrived Friday night.
“It’s going to be tough to determine a cause, just due to the damage,” he said.
The Kennewick Fire Department and Franklin Fire District 3 assisted Pasco with the blaze, Donais said.
Damage was estimated at $50,000 to the home, and another $50,000 to its contents, he said.
The Fliegers have been staying with their daughter since the fire. They own the land where the remains of their house stand, but replacing it will be tough.
“We’re going to have to have that all pulled up, which could take awhile,” Dee Flieger said.