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Fund set up to help family whose home suffered heavy fire damage

By Staff | Feb 11, 2010

A fund has been created for a Cape Coral family whose home sustained heavy damage in a fire Monday afternoon.
The Cuevas Family Fund was recently opened at Fifth Third Bank, according to bank spokeswoman Jama Dock. Anyone who wishes to help the family can visit any Fifth Third Bank branch location and make a donation to the fund.
At about 2 p.m. Monday, Cape Coral fire units responded to a report of a house fire at 1316 S.E. 28th Terrace. A next-door neighbor called 911 after smelling smoke, then seeing smoke coming from the eaves of the home, city spokeswoman Connie Barron reported.
The home was unoccupied at the time of the fire, which originated in the kitchen as a result of unattended cooking. Barron said Denis Cuevas had left the home to pick up his 8-year-old daughter from Caloosa Elementary School. His wife, Ada, who is seven months pregnant, was also not home at the time.
Firefighters did rescue three dogs and four puppies from the garage.
Cuevas told authorities that he had been cooking prior to leaving the home.
The home sustained heavy fire damage to the kitchen, as well as heavy-to- significant smoke and water damage in other areas of the home, according to Barron. A building official red tagged the structure, deeming it unlivable.
The damage to the home and its contents is estimated at $60,000.
“No one can live in it until significant repairs are made,” she said.
Barron added that the Lee County Electric Cooperative has cut power to the home by removing the meter, and the American Red Cross was called upon to assist the family.
Colin Downey, spokesman for the American Red Cross of Lee County, said the family requested lodging and referrals to partner agencies, but they did not request financial aid. The organization offers financial aid to cover any immediate needs that a family may have.
“Right now we’re putting them up for two nights at a local hotel,” Downey said Tuesday, adding that the organization has offered a third night if the family chooses to take it.
The American Red Cross of Lee County responds to more than 100 single-family house fires each year. He said the volunteers who respond to the fires are trained to assess the situation and determine what a family may need.
“It is definitely a common occurrence,” Downey said of house fires. “More often than not, we are providing lodging or some sort of financial assistance to help the family get their feet under them.”
“We only provide lodging to families who truly need assistance,” he added.
The family could not be reached for comment Wednesday.