The smoke alarms screamed their warning throughout the Tillicum Baptist Church parsonage Monday, January 5th, and at 4 A.M. the family of Pastor Scott and Caressa Fennell were suddenly awakened to gather their bed clothes about them and rendezvous outside.
The fire destroyed the garage, the heat of the flames burning the tires down to the hubs, leaving the car frame a heat-twisted hulk, while black smoke and soot spread throughout the house.
Despite explosions in the garage – possibly the car gas tank igniting – miraculously no lives were lost.
All personal items inside the home however were categorized as an Uninsured Loss – everything from toiletries to furnishings to appliances. Clothes, beds, food, and more: all gone.
West Pierce Fire and Rescue has condemned the parsonage and the rebuilding effort could take as much as six months.
It’s our opportunity as a neighborhood once again to pull together in crisis.
When a family was burned out of their home just outside Eagle Point, neighbors within and without the gated community helped the family back on their feet – with housing, clothing and rebuilding.
When children have gone missing, hundreds have joined the search.
When storms have blocked streets with fallen trees, those with the necessary tools cleared a path. And when a respirator supplying oxygen became inoperable due to the electricity outage caused by the storm, a life-supporting generator was found.
Yet another generator even supplied coffee-making capability for the community.
When the trailered-homes of many of our Hispanic residents were found to be in violation of various codes, it was Pastor Fennell and the team from Tillicum Baptist, together with materials and hands-on expertise provided by Rebuilding Together South Sound, who helped reconstruct their porches.
Now it’s time to come together and rebuild again.
Pastor Fennell serves the small congregation at Tillicum Baptist Church and supplements his income as a school bus driver. Together with his wife Caressa, who is a music teacher, they have ministered in the Tillicum community for now going on 10 years and in that time have touched the lives of countless people.
It’s our turn.
Friends and family of the Fennells have established a website, GiveForward.com to contribute where 99 cents out of every dollar goes directly to the people in need.
To learn how you can support Scott and his family, visit https://www.giveforward.com/
The campaign closes on April 5, 2015.
West Pierce Fire and Rescue also wants you to know that the same type smoke alarm that they installed in the Fennell home – the one that saved their lives – is available to you via the West Pierce Fire and Rescue’s grant funding.
If you live in University Place or Lakewood and do not have working smoke alarms in your home, please call them at (253) 564-1623 to schedule an appointment.