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Toledo family loses home just before Christmas

December 28, 2012
By John Speer - Editor , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

A Toledo family was able to escape unharmed from an early morning fire on Saturday, Dec. 22, which caused an estimated $20,000 damage to the home at 203 East Grace Street which they were renting.

Mike Vales - Amber Mitchell and children were able to relocate to another rental house in Toledo that morning. The family was aided by the American Red Cross Red Cross media spokesperson Tammie Pech confirmed. She wrote in an email "We cannot be specific with assistance, we typically help with things such as shelter, food, seasonal items and medical necessities."

The property was insured but the family did not carry renters insurance, Toledo Fire Chief Joe Boll said.

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Toledo firefighters work to control a blaze as smoke pours from the Mike Vales - Amber Mitchell residence at 203 E. Grace Street shortly after 4 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 22. Damage was confined to primarily the kitchen and roof areas, but the family was forced to move out. News-Herald/John Speer

Boll said Vales was awake and smoking a cigarette at 4:10 a.m. when he smelled smoke and heard a "crackling" in the walls.

Firefighters were summoned and were able to contain the blaze to mainly the kitchen and roof area above the kitchen. The cause of the fire was listed as electrical, Boll said. The fire department was on the scene about three and one-half hours.

Boll said firefighters were able to save the family's Christmas presents.

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The rental home is reported owned by Jim Smith, rural Toledo.



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