Family left homeless by fire needs aid - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Family left homeless by fire needs aid

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Posted: Wednesday, May 19, 2004 9:42 am | Updated: 6:03 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

For Juan Gutierrez, the biggest losses in a May 5 fire that destroyed his Chandler home were the things that can’t be replaced.

These include pictures of his kids being baptized, videos of the children’s parties, and clothes he and his wife were saving for their grandchildren.

But living without the possessions that can be replaced has created a hardship for Gutierrez and his family.

The home insurance will cover only the structure of the house near Arizona Avenue and Chandler Boulevard, Gutierrez said.

"I also need somewhere to live for the next six to 10 months while the house is being rebuilt," Gutierrez said.

"I can’t afford a mortgage payment along with rent."

For now, Gutierrez, wife Juana and his three children, Jessica, 7, Valerie 5, and Juan Jr., 18 months, are staying with his sister in Phoenix.

The result: 11 people living in a two-bedroom apartment.

The Friends in Need committee at Hartford Elementary School in Chandler, which Valerie attends, is reaching out to help the family.

Sylvia Encinas, one of seven Hartford staff members on the committee, said the group has already given the family groceries and is raising rent money so the family can move back to Chandler.

"We also want to ask the community to let us know if they have a small house or an apartment that they would rent at a low rate while the family’s house is being rebuilt," Encinas said.

Gutierrez said that his family has gotten enough clothes since the fire, but they need furniture such as beds.

"What wasn’t burned by the fire was ruined by the smoke and water," said

Encinas, who visited the house after the blaze.

- How to help To donate, call (480) 812-6700.

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