Fire destroys local couple's home

Aaron Andrews
Staff Writer

A house fire displaced a local couple at 550 Kalmia St. at 3 a.m. Dec. 13.
Husband and wife Don and Moasheena Drake reported that a wood stove in the basement started the fire.
The house is a total loss, firemen reported.
All of the Drake’s possessions — including the belongings of Don’s recently deceased father, Vern Drake — were lost in the blaze.
“My dad lived in that house with my grandpa who just passed away in September,” Drake’s daughter Lori Kennedy said. “With the Estate still in progress, there was no homeowners insurance.”
But the Drakes are far from destitute, thanks to their neighbors and their tight-knit community.
Angel Keating lives right down the street from the Drake’s property.
She lives next door to Lori, with nothing but a small strip of grass between their two houses.
“We like to joke that it’s all one big house with a breezeway down the middle,” Keating said.
When Vern passed away in September, Keating spearheaded his memorial service.
When Keating’s grandpa passed, the Drakes helped her out.
“It’s been a rough couple of days,” Keating said of the joint losses.
As the Drake home burned Wednesday night, the Keatings and Drakes stood together in Kennedy’s home listening to Don’s ammunition explode.
“There was about $10,000 of ammunition in an antique gun safe,” Keating said.
“We stood in Lori’s house listening to ammo go off for over an hour.”
Kettle Falls Inn owner Preet Moudgil offered the Drakes a generous rate for an extended stay, according to Keating.
Kennedy explained that the Red Cross had secured a room for the Drakes for seven days while they search for more permanent housing.
“We will need to find them another living situation as soon as possible,” Kennedy said. “My dad is on social security and has limited income, and his wife does not have an income.” For the time being, the Drakes do not need furniture or household items sas much as they need day-to-day necessities, lsuch as clothing and toiletries, according to Kennedy.
“At this time, we do not have anywhere to store household items until we find them permanent housing,” she said.
A full list of the Drakes’ needs can be found on Keating’s Facebook page.
She said plans are in the works to open an account for donations at Banner Bank, but until then they are accepting checks.
This is due, in part, to a disturbing scam. A distant relative of the Drakes created a fake GoFundMe page to benefit from their loss, according to Kennedy.
“Since that will deter people from donating in that manner, we are asking that any financial donations be mailed to me at 625 Kalmia St. in Kettle Falls or given to Angel Keating 635 Kalmia St.,” Kennedy said, adding that Keating is in charge of donations and fundraising.
Keating said they have been blessed by donations that are already coming in. “Our community does a great job coming together to take care of people,” she said.