Cumberland County family hit by fire, thieves

December 16, 2011 4:58:31 PM PST
Fire devastated the Cumberland County home of Bill and Iris Coon but that wasn't the end of the tragedy.

Firefighters were able to contain the damage from the flames to the master bedroom and master bathroom. However, what no one was able to stop were the thieves who broke in after the fire and ripped off the place.

The Coons lived in the home for 16 years. Bill says a faulty space heater in the master bathroom was to blame. It sent flames and smoking shooting everywhere.

"The fire alarm went off. So I looked in the bathroom and there were flames shooting up," said Bill Coon. "So, I tried to get a bucket of water and throw it on there and throw it on there. I couldn't get anything done."

The couple made it out alive. Unfortunately, one of their two Chihuahuas died. Now, there's even more heartache.

The fire happened on Friday, Dec. 9. Then, to add insult to injury, crooks came in over the weekend and stole just about everything inside. One thing they didn't get was a Bronze Star, which belonged to Iris' father. He earned it while serving two tours of duty in Vietnam.

"It means everything that I have it," said Iris Coon. "Yes, but that's what I have of him. He passed away several years ago and that's what we have."

Now, right before Christmas, the couple says there is an outpouring of compassion and love as complete strangers line up to help.

"People that we don't even know have come forward and there's a light at the end of the tunnel," said Iris. "It's going to be a really long tunnel but there's a light there."

The couple says they're going to need all the help they can get. They want to make repairs and move back in but, unfortunately, they didn't have any insurance on their home.

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