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My Name is Jenny and recovering from a fire, and trying to help others

Jenny Hontz 1 year ago   Reply

So, we lost nearly everything in a house fire July 7 2012 a family of six two adults and four kids. Learning that we WERE NOT prepared, that most people, smart people like us WERE NOT prepared. It cost us, it could have cost us more then possessions. We lived in a world of "it's never going to happen to us" so prepared was something that we could do tomorrow. Well our tomorrow came and we were not prepared. We made it out safe, as a Mom I was left realizing that I had spent 16 years protecting them and keeping them safe, yet I had ignored things I should paid attention to.  In some ways it was not real, not until it happened that day. Since then I have watched my 9 year old start a charity called Lauren's Luggage to help fire victims with basic realizing that a blanket and stuffed animal goes a long way. I can say that this was the best and worst day day of our life. We have since done our best to help let other families know first hand the dangers of not being prepared

Debra Williams 1 year ago   Reply

Hi Jenny,

Thank you for sharing your story.  There are so many people who need to hear it and take heed!  Is it okay if I share your story with the many families that I am helping to prepare through their churches?  If it is okay, please me a link for your daughter's project.  There may be some who will wan to contribute to her effort.

michael bookman 1 year ago   Reply

Try looking into your local emergency management or CERT team as well as the local fire corps in your area. MB


Thank you so much for sharing your story. You said it so well. As a mom we want to protect our kids from everything, but sometimes overlook some of the most obvious. Have you ever considered sharing your story with others on a website or other way? I know that people in our community would benefit hearing about what they should have, and could have done in advance to protect their families.

Alexa White
Pennington County Emergency Management

Modified by Rebecca - Community Moderator (contractor) (1 year ago)

Hi, Jenny -

Thank you for speaking about your experience.  I would love to post your full story on my website (, possibly on the blog page, and feature it in my next newsletter.  Please let me know if this would be OK for you, and we can work out the details of sharing a recording or document.  I talk to a lot of people, and it's always a challenge to find the example or story that will finally make a difference for them and motivate them to prepare.  I am convinced that it's people like you who make that difference.

Mary Winter, PrepSimple/ FEMA reservist/ CERT instructor/ Red Cross volunteer

Yes you should thank your lucky stars as my daughter Kerry and her 2 friends Eva and Kevin were both killed in a fire at Marist College this past January in their off campus house.  We have formed the Kerry Rose foundation to create awareness of the dangers that college students face.  We feel that fire sprinklers should be mandatory for all college students (as well as all residential homes, but one step at a time)  We should be safest where we put our heads to sleep.  Sprinklers are mandatory at places like factories and office buildings , but not homes....I don't get it. ... We have billboards across the country and hopefully people are asking questions while searching for "the perfect college/university" . 

I applaud your daughter and would also like to share her efforts.  Give her a hug and tell her that you love her everyday.   

Graham Murdock 1 year ago   Reply

Thanks for your story.

Most of us would never expect our home to burn and your story puts things into perspective.

I would lean to the side of one of the best days in your life. You were safe as was the family. Now you and your children are contributing toward helping others in similar circumstances.

Good deeds build good Karma and that is the fuel for the next phase in our continued life's journey.


Carmen Saunders 1 year ago   Reply

Thank you for your story. I also, as a young child together with my baby brother, was in a house fire many years ago. My brother was in a coma for almost a year and has suffered through so much ever since. A few years after that, our family business, together with 2 apartments on top was burned down. One of the apartments belonged to my aunt and her 4 kids and the top apartment belonged to a family who lost their son in that fire. Now, working as the Safety & Health Officer for my department it is so important to be prepared for all types of events that we may never expect to happen to us. I think your program is a great program and if you need any help let me know.

Hi Jenny,

Thanks for posting your experience on the FEMA Communities website!  Have you done any research regarding Citizen Corps and CERT??  Many counties around the country have such programs.


-Eric Goldman (FEMA, Region II)

We made it out safe, as a Mom I was left realizing that I had spent 16 years

Thanks for your story.

Most of us would never expect our home to burn and your story puts things into perspective.

Modified by Rebecca - Community Moderator (contractor) (1 year ago)
Ken Swanson 1 year ago   Reply

It really is worse than you all think. I am a member of a fire safe council and we cannot interest folks in becoming 'fire safe'. Our web site does not have a great following either. And our social pages suffer as well. Bottom line; Preparedness needs a face lift. Web sites, this one included, will not even start to create a sustainable awareness platform. I wouldn't even comment on  the subject if I didn't have a better way. I make it my policy to never give negative feedback without a viable solution. And I do. I have a plan for a National Awareness Program. Anyone interested? 

I am happy that there were no injuries and will pray that your consequence will turn to blessing.

Ken Swanson Shasta County Fire Safe Council 

Patricia Payne 1 year ago   Reply

Hi Jenny

I am so sorry for your loss.  Unfortunately it is things like this that we have to learn from.  if you could also send me your daughters link,perhaps we can help with that..

I wish best and your family the best, there are many out there that are willing to help!