Habitat for Humanity desperate for help after tool trailer is found burning in a field

Habitat hands over keys to 102nd family

Tri-County Partners Habitat for Humanity dedicates its 102nd home in the Tri-Cities
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Tri-County Partners Habitat for Humanity dedicates its 102nd home in the Tri-Cities

Sometime in the middle of the night recently, a thief backed up a truck to a trailer full of tools on a Pasco street.

He hooked it up and pulled it north into Franklin County. Somewhere along the way, the truck and trailer got stuck on the edge of an onion field near Glade Road North.

By the time deputies spotted it, they could just make out the Habitat for Humanity logo amid the smoke and flames, said Theresa Richardson, the executive director of the Tri-County Partners Habitat for Humanity.

The Aug. 2 incident has left volunteers without the tools they need to finish three Pasco homes ahead of a looming October deadline.

The organization already faced delays from a long and late winter in their work to finish the last three homes in what they called the White House subdivision near Oregon Avenue.

The work in that area started in 2013, and the families and organizations already built 21 homes. The people who moved into them put in 500 hours of work and also repay the organization through a monthly mortgage payment.

Stolen trailer

No suspect information has been released about the person who took the trailer from the subdivision.

Volunteers had wrapped up work at the homes around 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 1 and went home. Deputies discovered the fire shortly before 7 a.m. the next day.

The flames spread into the nearby grass and started a small fire in the dry grass, Franklin County Fire District 3 said. It’s unknown what started the fire.

Deputies scoured the area, but did not find a suspect.

Volunteers and tools

The organization is still listing everything that was in the 8.5- by 21-foot trailer to send to their insurance company. The losses include hand tools, shovels, hammers, saws and lots of nails.

While all of the items can be replaced, the biggest problem is not having the items or the people to finish the final three homes. The framing and roofs are up, but the homes aren’t finished.

A Housing and Urban Development grant helped Habitat for Humanity buy the land for the development. As part of getting the money, Habitat needed to finish the homes by mid-October, Richardson said.

To finish on time, Habitat needs more volunteers. People can sign up to help online. Anyone with questions can call 509-943-5555.

Normally, Habitat would provide tools, but with the loss of the trailer, they are asking people to provide their own tools.

They are also seeking donations of tools to help replace the ones they lost in the fire, Richardson said.

The fire has also left Habitat looking for help to replace the trailer. While insurance will cover about $10,000 in tools, it’s only going to cover about $2,000 of the $8,000 cost to replace the trailer.

Cameron Probert covers breaking news and education for the Tri-City Herald, where he tries to answer readers’ questions about why police officers and firefighters are in your neighborhood. He studied communications at Washington State University.