Family of seven displaced; community responds quickly
The seven-member Knox family is staying at a friend’s apartment after a fire destroyed their single-wide mobile home at the River’s Edge Mobile Home Park in Twisp on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 10.
Levi and Kylee Knox and their five children — Caleb, 11; Zach, 7; Brooklynn, 6; Addy, 3; and Kathleen, 1 — are grateful to their friends for making the apartment available, although the single bedroom makes it “kind of a stretch” for seven people, Levi Knox said.
The entire family — and one of their dogs — were not at home when the fire started. A neighbor rescued their second dog through a window as the mobile home began to smolder.
The family wasn’t able to salvage anything from the blaze, since the home was badly damaged by fire, smoke and water from fire hoses. The Senior Center rummage room, Room One, and churches put together clothes for the family right away, Levi said.
The Knoxes had lived in the mobile home for about a year, where they’d spent considerable time and money remodeling the kitchen and bathrooms, hoping to save enough to buy their own home. They’d lived in Carlton for years before that and have been in the valley for 10 years.
The fire and loss of their home bring one more stress to the growing family. Kylee is pregnant and due in January. Doctors are concerned that the baby’s heart isn’t developing properly, so the Knoxes will be in Seattle starting in December to allow for regular monitoring at a hospital there, Levi said.
The Knoxes have been especially busy lately with their business, Mountain Meals & Catering, doing catering for weddings, birthdays and family reunions. Mountain Meals offers everything from local beef, burgers, and bratwurst to black-bean burgers, hot dogs, fries, and mac and cheese. When they’re not too busy providing food for special events, their food cart can be found at locations around the valley.
The fire appeared to have started in the chimney, producing flames and smoke in the interior of the home, Okanogan County Fire District 6 Chief Cody Acord said. Assistant Chief Rusty Stamps was the first to arrive at the scene, and he was able to knock down the flames with a garden hose until fire engines arrived a few minutes later, Acord said.
Half a dozen engines responded to the blaze and, while firefighters quickly subdued the fire, they spent a couple of hours wetting down the area and pulling out drywall and insulation from the ceiling to make sure nothing was smoldering, Acord said.
There’s a GoFundMe page set up for the Knoxes, and friends and community members have been very generous with offers of help. But given their limited space, they don’t have any place for donations beyond the basics right now, Levi said.
“Thank God everyone’s OK — stay tuned till we’re more stable, and we find a house and have a place to put stuff,” Levi said. He asked that people pray for them and their situation with the new baby and their housing needs.