Displaced Marion family speaks about fire escape - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Displaced Marion family speaks about fire escape, recent challenges

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MARION (KWWL) -

It's been a trying year for the Smith family of Marion.

"A lot of hits have been coming, and I asked myself, when's it going to stop?  When will it ever stop?" said Chris Smith, 28, of Marion.

The past 12 months have been filled with more than a fair share of challenges for Chris and his parents.

First it was a life-threatening growth in his mother Daniese's neck that required surgery.

Then it was the removal of a benign tumor in Larry John's abdomen that recently revealed significant problems to his liver.

"Here you are with what was happening to me, and then all of a sudden my house goes up in flames," Larry John said.

Now, the family's home of ten years is gone.

Larry John was at work in the early hours of Monday morning when the family's charcoal grill, which was still hot from the night before, blew over and ignited the deck.

Daniese and her son Chris were home, asleep.

"I woke up to a bunch of people, and the one neighbor beating on my window trying to get me to wake up, and she said 'Chris, Chris, get out of the house, get out of the house, it's on fire,'" Chris said.

The family is crediting their neighbor for saving their lives.

"If it hadn't been for Dawn waking up, we would not be here, you would be talking to just my husband," Daniese said.

The Smith's are now living out of a suitcase in a small hotel room, unsure of where they'll go next.

But they are reluctant to talk about their loss, and instead thankful they still have each other.

"The Lord opens a window, when he closes a door.  So maybe this is another door that closed and another window that has to be opened in our lives," Daniese said.

The family's three pets also survived the fire.

Friends and family have set up an account to help support the Smith's financial needs.

People looking to donate should call U.S. Bank at its 16th Avenue branch on Cedar Rapids Southwest side at 319-366-7995.  Callers should ask to speak to Kathleen, the branch manager.

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