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Fire leaves Tama County family homeless

Published: Mar. 18, 2021 at 5:20 PM CDT
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TOLEDO, Iowa (KCRG) -A Tama County family is homeless after a fire two weeks ago at the Arrowhead Mobile Home Park in Toledo.

Amber Greif was at a job fair in Waterloo when she got a call that her home was on fire. When she was out trying to better her life, she got a call that changed her life forever.

Greif and her boyfriend, Nick Craghead, are now staying with family.

“Just to have to start all over is heartbreaking,” she said.

Returning to what’s left of the home to look at the damage still feels unreal.

“The entire kitchen is gone,” she said. “All the cupboards, everything in the cupboards is on the floor or on the sink, curtains are melted.”

Grief also lost her best friend in the fire.

“My dog, I had her since she was 8 weeks old,” Greif said. “For four years she got me through a lot of hard times. When I got home, they had her outside on the snow, covered up. She did not make it.”

Investigators say the fire started in the kitchen with a bad built-in microwave.

“We quit using it because the start button didn’t work on it,” Craghead said. “Apparently there was something bad inside of it, I don’t know.”

Assistant Fire Chief Greg Johnson with the Toledo Fire Department said kitchen appliance fires can be quite common.

“The small household appliances, whether it be a toaster oven, coffee maker, anything like that, they should be unplugged when they’re not being used,” Johnson said. “Those items such as a built-in microwave obviously need to be maintained and cleaned regularly.”

The Tama County Humane Society has some of their animals, and people are donating to help them recover as they wonder how an everyday appliance changed their everyday lives.

“It’s a lot to see that it’s gone,” Greif said.

“Everything we ever owned, went up in smoke,” added Craghead.

There is a GoFundMe account to help.

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