Family Left Homeless Twice This Year From Fire

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

"At least we still have some of our memories we've been able to come together and get after our last fire," Jessica Brinkman says, fighting back tears.

It's deja vu of the worst kind for Brinkman, her fiance, Ron Sharp, and their children. Just two months ago, they lost everything they owned in a Lansing apartment fire. Now, after Saturday's blaze in Lansing Township, they're faced with the same tragedy all over again.

"It's hard on us," Brinkman says, "but it's even harder for my son. It's hard to know what to say to him or how to explain." She says her three-year-old son still asks to see some of his toys or clothes that were ruined in the first fire.

Saturday's fire broke out around noon at 740 Edgemont Blvd. Sunday afternoon, about half the tenants were given the green light to move back in after enduring a stressful 24 hours.

"It was crazy-- the fire and three kids," says tenant and mother Amanda Caesar. "I don't have family around. I didn't know what we were going to do. It was pretty much me on my own."

Even though some of the tenants were given the O.K. to move back in, they're still worrying about the soot damage all over the walls and the soaking wet carpet.

"I don't think you'll get rid of the smell," says resident Debra Taylor.

The smell of burned walls and charred items will linger long after the tenants have all moved back in. It's that familiar scent Brinkman recognized Saturday.

"It all just came back to me," she says.

She and her fiance say it could be another two weeks before they can move back in. They're left with their son and seven-month-old daughter and no secure place to live.

"We just have to look at each other for support," Brinkman says.

"Love," adds Sharp.

"And family," Brinkman says.

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