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Pizza forgotten in oven causes fire leaving family of six without a home in Cedar Rapids

Published: Jan. 18, 2021 at 6:35 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A Cedar Rapids family wants to thank the people who have helped them after a fire burned just about everything they owned.

It happened in the 900 block of A Avenue NW in Cedar Rapids last Tuesday. The family said, of all things it, was a frozen pizza left in the oven too long that sparked the flames. A 14-year-old boy was home at the time the oven caught fire. He was able to put the oven fire out, but the pizza was so hot that when he tossed it into the garbage outside the trash caught fire and spread to the home from the back porch.

“Something as simple as a pizza can change somebody’s entire life you know one blink of an eye and everything’s gone,” Stephanie Stapleton, a friend of the family, said.

Ashley Faas was out shopping with her 3-year-old daughter on the little girl’s birthday when she got a call from her son letting her know about the fire at their house.

“We went to Walmart to get her a present and my son, we literally just got to Walmart we were only there maybe 5 minutes,” Faas said.

“You never think in your wildest dreams that when you leave your house, when you go back there’s going to be nothing,” Faas added.

Faas rushed home to find her son safe along, with their two dogs who were inside when the fire broke out. One of the only things they were able to salvage was their grandfather’s ashes which were in a metal urn.

“Pictures are gone, beds are gone, you know just little knick-knacks, ornaments, things that they’ve held onto their whole lives,” Stapleton says.

Stapleton is helping to coordinate donations for the family.

“These people are amazing people and I’m just glad that we’re all in this together and they’re not alone,” Stapleton said.

It’s a long way to go until things feel normal again. The family is still looking for housing to rent, and the father, who works in construction, lost his tools and equipment in the fire.

“That’s their source of income, that’s their livelihood,” Stapleton said.

One step at a time they know they’ll get their life back, thanks to the help from everyone who has reached out.

“It’s been amazing, all of the people that have helped me and my family,” Faas said.

You can drop off donations at 4301 Midway Drive NW in Cedar Rapids. If you want to reach Stephanie regarding a possible donation you can message her Facebook page here.

Clothing sizes for the family are as follows:

  • The father is a men’s XL & wears size 12 for shoes
  • Ashley (mom) is a woman’s size med/large and wears size 9 for shoes.
  • The oldest son wears size 12/14 for clothing and size 7 in shoes.
  • The middle son is a men’s size medium and wears size 9 in shoes.
  • The youngest son is size 6 and wears a child’s size 13 in shoes.
  • The daughter is size 4T and wears a child’s size 7 shoe.

Stephanie says they plan to pay the support forward, any donations the family can’t use will be donated to other families who may need them.

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