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Fire destroys home of woman, four children

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, at 6:33 a.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, at 12:41 a.m.

How to help

Christian Faith Centre is accepting donations for Laveana Comick and her four daughters, who are 8, 5 and 1-year-old twins. Items — including clothing, toys and furniture — and money may be dropped off from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the church, 1130 S. Broadway in Wichita.

After-hours dropoff is by appointment.

Cash, checks and money orders may be mailed to the church, in care of Laveana Comick.

For more information, contact Christian Faith Centre Pastor Wade Moore at 316-682-3534.

Laveana Comick said she isn’t sure where she’ll go this weekend.

The American Red Cross Midway-Kansas has paid for the 26-year-old mother of four to live in a hotel through Friday and gave her food and a few supplies to start recovering.

But with Wichita fire investigators estimating her personal property loss at $20,000 after a fire destroyed her northeast Wichita house, there’s still a long way to go.

“We just lost everything,” Comick said by phone. “I don’t know what we’ll do.”

Authorities said it’s unclear what sparked the blaze in Comick’s single-story house late Tuesday, in the 2600 block of North Spruce, near 25th and Grove. Total loss is estimated at $80,000, including $60,000 in structural damage, Wichita fire investigations Capt. Stuart Bevis said Wednesday.

Comick rents the house. As firefighters inspected the charred remains of her home early Wednesday, she bowed her head and swiped at tears.

At least a quarter of it had crumbled.

“My heart is broken,” Comick sobbed.

“We already didn’t have much to begin with. I was trying,” she said. “My mom helps me a lot. But now I got to start all over.”

Some callers to 911 feared young children were trapped when the fire started at about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.

At least 40 firefighters and eight trucks responded but found no one inside.

“We called in significant extra crews to perform an aggressive fire attack and search,” Wichita fire Capt. Jason Jones said at the scene.

Comick, a certified nurse’s assistant, later said she was at work. Her daughters – 8-year-old Nakayla, 5-year-old Tyra and 1-year-old twins, Amya and Ariyona – were staying overnight at the home of Comick’s mother, Jeanette Comick.

Authorities also received at least one call from someone who reported hearing an explosion at the residence. Jones said he was unable to confirm any explosion had occurred.

But Comick said she stored several oxygen tanks, used to treat a chronic lung disease suffered by one of her twins. She thinks they exploded.

Curious neighbors watched from their lawns and doorways as firefighters quickened the collapse of an exterior wall facing the street.

“Prayers would help me out a lot,” Comick said.

Reach Amy Renee Leiker at 316-268-6644 or aleiker@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @amyreneeleiker.

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