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Family searches for home two weeks after large Bellevue apartment fire

(Fox 17 News)

Two weeks after a large fire broke out in a Bellevue apartment complex, some families burned out of their homes are still looking for a permanent place to live.

It’s been two weeks since an electrical problem caused a fire that destroyed 23 units at the Creekwood Apartments on Highway 70 South. As flames ripped through the building, Fox 17 News talked to several families that stood by helplessly in the cold watching their homes disappear.

Jennifer Locke, her boyfriend and their two young children are now staying with her boyfriend’s father until they find a new place to call home.

“I've had a couple 'Mommy did you get this? Mommy did you save that,'" Locke said. “I think once we get into a new place and see how much stuff they didn't get to keep that's going to be when it sets in for them.”

Locke said she salvaged some of their stuff, but it all reeks of smoke.

"People are telling me let all your clothes go and I'm like I can't now,” Locke said. “I've got this little bit of money that I'm going to have to try to make work as much as possible and then just rely on the community for furniture donations and everything else."

The community has certainly stepped up. A GoFundMe page set up by Metro Councilwoman Sheri Weiner raised more than $40,000 for the people affected by the fire. The Red Cross didn't have exact totals, but that equals out to around $1,700 for each damaged unit regardless of how many people live in the apartment.

“Each family has gotten substantial number of gift cards,” Weiner said. “I actually have more gift cards coming."

Grateful for the support, Jennifer Locke said it’s still a confusing and frustrating time for her family.

“When the kids are asleep and I'm quiet time middle of the night, the insomnia is pretty bad and there's quite a few tears,” Locke said.

The next step for Locke’s young family is finding a permanent home. She said she’s applied at one of Creekwood’s sister properties. If she doesn’t get in, Locke said she’d be forced to leave Bellevue.

“We'd have to move out of Bellevue,” Locke said. “There's no way I can pay some of the rent rates around here. They just keep going up.”

A promotion for the fire victims at a local Chili's restaurant raised around $1,000 on Monday night. Anyone who wishes to help the victims of the fire get back on their feet should check the Creekwood Fire Relief Facebook group.

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