Benefit helps Engle family recover after fire - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Benefit helps Engle family recover after fire

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Dozens of local businesses and families are pitching in to help out one Waterloo family. Last month, the Engle's lost their home, and almost lost two of their daughters, to an early-morning fire.

James and his wife Melissa made it out safely with their son and youngest daughter. But their older girls were trapped inside the home. Two teams of Waterloo firefighters rescued the girls. They spent about a week recovering from smoke inhalation in Iowa City.

Saturday night, the Engle's and their friends are celebrating the kids' recovery and how far the family has come.

"As long as we got everybody out okay, that was my main goal. The stuff can all be replaced, I really don't worry about the stuff," said James Engle.

The Engle's have relied heavily on help from strangers over the last month. Beginning when firefighters saved their girls, and on Saturday, surrounded by dozens of friends, old and new.

"They lost everything, holidays are right around the corner. And I know everybody has a big heart," noted Juneal Stuva from the 13th Step.

The 13th Step hosted a benefit Saturday for the Engle's. They organized the raffles and auction items. But it's a gift from Floyd Heskett that took the family off guard.

"Bicycles make kids happy, and with this catastrophe in their lives, they needed some happiness," said Heskett.

Heskett doesn't know the family. His daughter in Florida read their story online, and asked him to help the kids out. So Hesket brought the oldest three new bicycles, and the youngest a big teddy bear.

"That's what makes the world go round is little kids, and nothing more beautiful than a little one's smile," said Heskett.

Soon the kids will enjoy their new bikes at their new home in Mason City. It's a fresh start to their second chance at life.

"I've got an opportunity for a pretty good paying job, and it's a smaller community and a safer start for my kids," Engle said.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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