Detroit mom: ‘This wildfire ripped my family apart’

Wildfires

The search for a new home is leaving one mom feeling hopeless

DETROIT, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s been almost two months since people in Detroit were able to return to their homes for the first time after wildfires swept through Oregon. For some, the struggle to recover what was lost still continues.

Tara Stark and her three teenagers lost everything in the Beachie Creek Fire. Now, two months later, they are still searching for a new place to live.

Tara Stark’s Detroit home was reduced to rubble after the Beachie Creek Fire swept through Marion County in late summer. (KOIN)

KOIN 6 News spoke with Stark back when she saw the devastation left behind for the first time. Finding anything salvageable among the rubble was nearly impossible. She said the loss has been very emotional and that it’s been difficult to recover.

“I went to go get my house key and there’s no door to unlock. It’s just gone,” said Stark. “I never expected to lose everything to a wildfire.”

Stark has Multiple Sclerosis and is unable to work because of her disability. She and her daughter are currently staying in an RV at a campground that was donated by United Way. Her two other kids are staying somewhere else because the RV is too small. Stark said they need to find a new place to rent and so far, they haven’t had any luck finding something they can afford.

“When my kids say, ‘I want to go home,’ to be like, ‘Kay, come here, come home’—I can’t do it,” said Stark through tears. “I think the hardest part of it all is this wildfire really ripped my family apart.”

Stark said they’re so grateful for the help they’ve received so far. Their church and family have donated clothing and other items, but the search for a new home has left her feeling hopeless. She said she never expected to lose everything in a wildfire and be stuck in a situation like this—it has completely upended their lives.

“We’re physically wearing out, we’re mentally, emotionally, spiritually—we’re just worn out and to be able to just take a hot shower, because we can’t do that where we’re at,” she said.

Stark has a GoFundMe campaign for her and her kids as they recover from this year’s historic wildfire season.

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