Barhite: The story doesn’t end after the fire is outWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
The generosity of the Maumee community is helping Esther Kozina deal with losing her home to a fire.
It has also given her reason to believe that people don’t forget about victims just because they are no longer front-page news.
Since the June 9th blaze, Kozina has not been allowed into her heavily damaged Quail Ridge Apartment unit to search for anything salvageable. She discovered she doesn’t have renters’ insurance. And she is not sure she will get a portion of her June rent returned.
But her boss, Maumee chiropractor Tom Baur, set up an account at Fifth-Third Bank in her name and then made a sizable donation.
The boosters paid her son’s fee to participate in the Maumee High School band his freshman year.
And her son’s former middle school teachers donated gift cards, even though he was already out of school when the fire occurred.
“I am really seeing the good in people,” Kozina said June 18 as she was fishing with her 14-year-old son, Derick.
The single mother lost most of her belongings, except a television and desk that was still at her mother’s house in Oregon.
If she would have been home when the fire started, she would have tried to grab a plastic tub of Derick’s baby items. But she and her son were at her mom’s doing laundry when she heard about the fire on the scanner.
“I had a good idea it was my complex when they said it was at Piccadilly Lane near Dussel Drive, but I didn’t know it was my building.”
Maumee Fire Chief Rick Monto said it is believed the fire started in the mulch, but the state fire marshal has ruled it as undetermined, and the investigation is done. Building code violations from earlier this year have not been linked to the fire.
Kozina said she had just moved into the apartment complex in August. She had renters’ insurance, but a problem with a new debit card led to her discovering after the fire that it had been canceled.
She is living with her mother until she finds a new apartment in Maumee, which she wants to do quickly. The cost of gas traveling from Oregon every day is adding up. Plus, she and her son miss the city.
“We love the community, the schools and the people. Maumee is a good community to live in,” Kozina said.