Community helps local woman rebuild after losing her home in a fire

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Brenda Whiteaker lost her husband to Lou Gehrig’s Disease two years ago. Then her home burned down two weeks ago. Now people are stepping up to help her rebuild.

Brenda’s home in Denison is a total loss after the electrical fire.

Catlin Whiteaker didn’t anticipate her childhood home burning down when she got the call last week. 

“When I got to the highway probably about half a mile off of it I saw the smoke and firetrucks and everything,” Whiteaker said. “I thought this might be a bigger deal than what I thought.” 

Fire crews worked to put out the fire for more than 10 hours. Brenda was inside at the time of the fire. 

Her husband, Randy Whiteaker, passed away almost two years ago from ALS

“There were many nights where I didn’t get sleep and then I’d have to get up and go to work the next day,” said Brenda. 

“A shower took three, four hours I mean, it was not easy and she did it all by herself,” Caitlin said. “She wouldn’t ask for help no matter what.” 

Now the Whiteakers are just trying to get the same house they grew up in back up on its feet. 

“We do have one set amount from insurance even though the house has been 100 percent totaled,” said Mariah Whiteaker. “We now have $25,000, if not over $25,000 in extra expenses we were not planning on. You think you have everything figured out, then you start tearing into it and it’s just been kind of a downhill process.” 

The first step is rebuilding then the family will figure out how to buy furniture next. 

People are stepping up to help her rebuild, like Dan Heinen, a Jefferson County contractor.

Their friends started a GoFundMe to help cover the remaining $25,000 in expenses. You can donate to her cause here.

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