ELKHART — Tiffany McQueen-Ybarra and her family are trying to salvage their possessions after the returned home to find their home on fire Wednesday evening.
“We were gone at my in-laws’ house,” McQueen-Ybarra said. “We came back and our neighbors told us our house was on fire.”
According to a news release from the Elkhart Fire Department, the blaze started in the kitchen of the home at 1901 Osolo Road lot 121 shortly before 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Firefighters arrived at the scene to see heaving smoke coming from the eaves of the home and flames coming through the roof.
“The kitchen was destroyed and the firefighters had to pull down the ceiling to make sure everything was out in the attic,” McQueen-Ybarra said. Most of their belongings are covered in insulation and water inside the house.
McQueen-Ybarra, her husband Andrew Ybarra and three children — 10-year-old Nae, 2-year-old Marlee and 1-year-old Andre — are staying in a hotel provided by the American Red Cross for three days while they make other living arrangements.
They were able to save some possessions, including a laundry basket filled with Andre’s clothes and one drawer of Nae’s clothes, she said.
They were also able to save Nae’s backpack and school supplies.
“When we were in the car, that was the one thing she panicked about,” McQueen said. “She said, ‘I need that for school tomorrow!’ I’m proud of my baby for that one.”
Even though the family had a late night, Nae still woke McQueen-Ybarra up in time to take her to school Thursday morning.
Nae’s 11th birthday is next week, and McQueen-Ybarra said all of her gifts were hidden in the closet of the bedroom closest to the fire along with a few Christmas gifts the family had purchased.
The family has not been able to get back into the house to evaluate the fire, water and smoke damage.
“I don’t know what we’re gonna do,” she said. “Say a prayer. I’d appreciate it.”
Anyone who wants to donate clothes or other supplies to the family can contact McQueen-Ybarra at 226-3900.