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Burned-Out Family Receiving Some Help

A Springdale family that lost all its possessions in a Sunday trailer-home fire is getting holiday help from a lot of friendly elves.

Friends and neighbors of Pat and Leona Caldwell have donated items, helped the family of six find temporary housing and started a relief fund.

The Caldwells took their four children - ages 2 to 10 - to a relative’s home Sunday afternoon. The couple then drove to Spokane for Leona Caldwell’s office holiday party.

Two hours later, they received a phone call telling them their trailer was a pile of ashes. “We lost pretty much everything, including the tree and presents,” said Pat Caldwell, a 32-year-old auto-body shop worker.

A relative who manages rental apartments has donated one unit to the Caldwells until they find alternative housing. Friends created a relief fund at Global Federal Credit Union. Money from donations will be spent on household items and furniture.

“They’ve already got a few things - a few toys and clothes,” said Linda Sellers, Pat Caldwell’s sister.

Still needed are kitchen items, blankets and assorted household items, Sellers said.

Investigators have not determined the cause of the fire about a mile outside Springdale.

Caldwell said a neighbor told him later that a man in a car was seen near the house after the fire started.

Firefighters driving to the blaze reported the man was seen trying to get his car free from deep snow as they arrived. The red-bearded driver told them he was delivering presents to the trailer home. He is now being sought by Stevens County sheriff’s deputies.

, DataTimes