Medical Bills And Fire Have Family Looking For Home And Help

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Despite a fire that destroyed their Topeka home and rising medical bills, the White family says the fire proved to them just how much they have to be thankful for.

Kim White, mother of 11, came home Wednesday afternoon to what seemed like a nightmare. "I saw the flames before I saw the kids so obviously sheer panic. I had never seen anything like that before in my life. That many flames coming from my son's bedroom," said White.

She was quickly overcome with new emotions when she learned her family of 13 was all accounted for. Kim White said, "I was weeping and sobbing just out of relief that everyone was alright."

The fire trapped 18 year old Jacob White in his bedroom, forcing him to escape the blaze from a 2 story window.

"I was originally going to jump and then figured I could crawl around. I was a little worried. At one point I slipped on the roof and almost fell. I feel lucky," said Jacob White.

Adding more luck to equation, 21 year old Zachary White, usually asleep in the afternoon due a current job working nights, had just left home to grab a bite to eat.

Bill White, father of the household said, "We could be planning a number of funerals and have kids in burn units and life flighted to KU Med, but we are just thankful."

The damage has rendered the family homeless but it isn't the only setback. Both Zachary and Jacob have received medical treatment for rare blot clots on their brains.

A fundraising website has been set up to help the family at providing an outpouring of support from neighbors and complete strangers.

"It is almost too overwhelming. I've cried more after the fire because of the overwhelming amount of support than I have cried because of what we have lost," said Kim White.

Numerous organizations have helped the White family while they look for a new home including the Red Cross and the Topeka Rescue Mission.

(WIBW/Brad Pacanec)
(WIBW/Brad Pacanec)