UPDATE: American Red Cross Helps Burien House Fire Victims Tuesday Night

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Click image to see larger version. Photo by Sara Girard.

UPDATE 4/3/12 9 p.m.: Red Cross Disaster Team volunteers met with the family that was victim of a house fire in Burien Tuesday afternoon.

The family is comprised of five adults and eleven children, including the parents and their kids, ranging in ages from nine months to 18 years, along with the mother’s sister.

The Red Cross is providing hotel rooms for them tonight, as well as giving them comfort kits, along with teddy bears for the kids.

“Comfort Kits are distributed, free of charge, to people displaced by disaster.” said Joyce Bottenberg, Volunteer Public Information Officer. “This small gesture of caring means a great deal to disaster victims. Often these individuals are left with nothing but the clothes they were wearing at the time the disaster struck.”


Just before 4 p.m. Tuesday (April 3), we received the above cell phone pic of a house fire from BTB Reader Sara Girard, who adds:

“We were just at Fred Meyer and saw plumes of smoke from across the freeway. Took this picture.”

Within an hour, the American Red Cross Serving King & Kitsap Counties responded to the house fire, at 14437 4th Court South in Burien (map below).

“We will provide emergency assistance such as shelter, food, clothing and other immediate needs for 5 adults and 11 children,” a spokesperson said.

As we learn more about this fire or its victims, we’ll update this post.

For more information about the local Red Cross, visit www.seattleredcross.org or call 206.323.2345.

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35 Responses to “UPDATE: American Red Cross Helps Burien House Fire Victims Tuesday Night”
  1. ELEVEN children living in that house? It is amazing that nobody was hurt!

    • Mrs. Youngblood says:

      Someone obviously WAS – looking for a child & it takes LONGER to see if that many folks got OUT. NUFF said……!

  2. jm says:

    Two many people living in a single family home, something was bound to go wrong sooner or later.

  3. Resident says:

    C’mon,, that is WAY too many people . I agree with JM,,11 kids? Please.

  4. Joseph R. says:

    There is nothing wrong with having a 11 children. People now-a-days don’t appreciate the value of children and get caught up in materialism and selfishness. Their life is about ‘Me’ and view children as a problem or liability. Fire is dangerous and happens to people whether they have many children or no children. I hope the families life gets back to normal soon.

    • Mrs. Youngblood says:

      If ya have too many & are NOT watching the smaller ones closely – this kind of thing can happen!!!! TOO MANY PEOPLE/overpopulation is an earth-nature issue. We are running out of decent recources. EDUCATE yourself!

      • modern mom of 6 says:

        My oldest son pointed out that 5 adults to 11 children is below zero population growth, which is demographic suicide for the society. We need more than that to care for the elderly.

        • Steve says:

          Your eldest son better check his math… even if all 5 adults were women, which they weren’t, you’re not going to be below zero population growth. lol

  5. Midge says:

    Do any of you know these people, or how the fire started?
    In my opinion, all of you should be kind, helpful, donate, or SHUT UP.
    Methinks Burien is full of cold, heartless people.
    I know this family. The children didn’t start the fire. No one did. It started by itself.
    These are two wonderful, caring, productive families. They’re not some illegal, fresh off the boat immigrants. Do you realize how devastating it is to lose everything you’ve worked hard for, through no fault of your own? Who cares if there were a lot of children in the house?? All of those children are loved and cared for. The one family took another family in because they had nowhere to stay. I’m sure none of you heartless people leaving comments would do that if your life depended on it. The mother and her brother in-law spent TWENTY minutes inside the smoke filled house because they couldn’t find one of the small twins that had been napping when the fire started. The mother was burned because of this. All of their children are bright, well adjusted, kind human beings…even the teenagers. You have NO RIGHT to judge these people, and you ought to be ashamed of yourselves (except for Joseph) for the comments you have left here.
    SHAME on you! Especially you, Cyndi Upthegrove. You’ve brought shame upon the Highline Historical Society.
    You disgust me.

    • Mrs. Youngblood says:

      It can be VERY unsafe to have a large number of people in a house……noone means to say they should NOT be helped!!!!! We all hope that they are. In my long life, I have seen too much happen when people tend to cram multiple families together for a LONG period of time. It is nice that 1 family had a place to stay, but the folks had to know it could not be a long-term situation. Leave Cyndi alone. As far as family sizes, it is important to realize that fewer children mean you can care for them better – attention, etc. Good grief – it was a good idea in the 60’s & 70’s…what happened???? What is getting folks worked up is that there were so many living in 1 space.

    • raquel davis says:

      Glad they are ok, but someone having 11 kids disgusts me. Get on birth control, geesh.

      • raquel davis says:

        Even between 5 adults that is too many. I don’t even reach 11 kids between myself, my brother and my 9 first cousins. How could one possibly afford that many children?

        • Fromafamilyof14 says:

          Wow, who decides how many kids are enough? I admire people who have big families. I see family time, laughter, children learning how to be a team and work together. I see parents and children together enjoying their time together. There are cousins getting to know one another! From what I hear they are not on welfare, etc, etc. They work hard and take care of their needs. Judgments, judgments!!

          Reserve the judgment! When you have “walked” in their shoes then offer some productive words of wisdom that could uplift and provide HELP.

          For those of you complaining about too many children — I hope you have a very good retirement plan because when these children grow up and are gainfully employed, I hope the social security “taxes” taken out of their paycheck WON’T be shared with you. If you can’t see any benefit to having children, lots of them, any other way, count on them working so you can have your social security check! Have a wonderful say!

          • Elizabeth says:

            Do you really think the earth can sustain that kind of numbers per family unit? Do you want to live in a crowded environment that will more like the cities of India? Is it really fair to the upcoming generations to put that burden on them? Or is it more about what you want?

          • Elizabeth says:

            Oh, and I do have a good retirement plan. By only having two children and living carefully within a budget I am saving quite a bit of money each month. I will not have to depend on anyone financially for my future years. Not your children or mine.

          • Resident says:

            BTW,,,I know for a fact families cram that many people in houses to get food stamps and such..I have ovcerheard people snicker and laugh cause they do it. I’m NOT saying this family has, who knows, but it is a REALITY and disgusting. You and I as a taxpayers pay for that. Iv’e seen the mom myself at Fred Meyer use FStamps. More kids more money. Nicely done.

      • Caroline says:

        You’re the one that is disgusting.

  6. Midge says:

    The sad thing is the first reaction was about the large number of children, not “Oh, how sad!” or “Does anyone know how we can help?”
    This isn’t a story about population control. It’s about a real family that needs help.

    You sound like a bunch of old cranky people to me. The 60’s and 70’s? Really?

    • Mrs. Youngblood says:

      NOT cranky; just more sensible after living a little longer! REALITY, young lady. (If U are under 50) This is not because of entitlement – it is because it is so much more difficult to support a large family……PERIOD. The majority of parents in this day & age are afraid to discipline their children….much less too lazy to watch what they are “up to”……..back in the old days, the kids were needed to help work the land, provide for parents & siblings; all the things that have changed. So family size has changed as well. GET REAL. My parents endured the same conditions as yours…….but it is no longer the same world, with the same rules.

    • Shari says:

      Your logic is a little perplexing. We’re not talking about hemlines or music. Fads and whims. So if you were driving and your passenger noticed that your gas tank was only 1/4 full and, knowing you had a long way to go yet, he might suggest you take care of the situation soon. But if you ignored him and kept on driving, so that he 60 miles later said, okay, now it’s getting serious: we’re running on fumes. We need to take care of this…would you respond “I’m ignoring you because you said it first 60 miles ago so therefore your position is outdated and irrelevant and…old?”

      • Resident says:

        Fireworks………..NICE,, Like I said too many kids and not paying attention IF this is the truth. I don’t care about how they are stored. They should not have had them. And I’m sorry but in this frigid climate they are not going to JUST go off. It is ILLEGAL anyway to set them off in KING county.. More than just their house could have been involved and set afire. I have no symthpothy for NO COMMON SENSE that alot of people seem to exhibit these days. Lesson learned I would HOPE. (Jeesssh AND a eyeroll)

  7. resident says:

    ok,,well Midge, how did it start? You know this family, how did they say it started? No one apprently knows. ( public) Did the family say how it started.
    11 kids is still alot , my opinion, I can voice it.Hope they are all well.

  8. modern mom of 6 says:

    Back in the day of “The Greatest Generation,” families of 11 children were not that uncommon, and in much smaller homes. (My mother shared a bed with two sisters, in an attic bedroom where snow drifted in in the wintertime.) Go back another 100 years and they raised families this big in cabins with 2 rooms and an attic. Those children were the ones that made America great. Maybe we need to return to large families — it would eliminate the “entitlement” mentality that is plaguing our generation!
    Not only that, but larger families are often easier and more rewarding. Check this out:

    • Sharon says:

      The problem with this country is not the size of this family. This family is self reliant. They believe in taking care of themselves and not relying on the taxpayers to provide for them. They have not been drawing on welfare or any other public assistance. They believe in the family taking care of the family and not dumping that responsibility onto the taxpayers. They are producing self reliant children who are growing up to be productive citizens of this country–future taxpayers who will support the selfish and indolent groups who think the world owes them a living. If an;ything we need more people like this. People who take care of their own.

  9. Resident says:

    Midge, do you know how it started since you know the family? Anybody know?

  10. askmicah says:

    I know the families involved. I used to live near them, but I have not gotten any of the details yet on how this thing started, yet. My own house burned down from an electrical fire (overheated outlet). Since the upstairs seems to be the most affected area, and their activities did not coincide with the origin of the fire, it is possible that theirs could have been started away from the kitchen or family room and may have been cause by a gas leak or an electric problem like mine. If I feel like it, I’ll update you who will yet read these messages.

    In case anyone cares about population studies in connection with comments made earlier, ‘modern mom of 6’ s son may be correct, this *could* be a diminishing population model. What some people seem to be missing in their math is the fact that we have 5, not 6 adults, and we can only assume couples are responsible for the children (even if single parents, we include the missing spouse). With increase rate of disease, infertility/birth-control, and accidental death since the last studies that showed approximately 130% in next-generation-population-in-order-to-maintain-the-same-population, we have to estimate that closer to two times the numebr of adults is appropriate to maintain a steady population. I don’t have current numbers, so this *may* be a deminishing or maintaining model ( g1=6, g2=11) for one family in todays society (this accounts for the individuals who don’t have children, which, on a per family basis, quickly hikes up the afore mentioned 130%).

    One more thing: Many people in the family’s social circle (of course I’m not say names on this public post) are helping them with food and housing. I wish that people would know about that. It only takes an affordable cost or sacrifice of resources to help another family when there are as much as a dozen families helping at the same time. This is exactly how friends and church are supposed to operate. In order for people to get by with a slightly larger catastrophe than this, people really need to be prepared with food and basic survivial storage. Though the law of the land may prohibit a healthy and adequate food storage, it is the right thing to do and part of our constitutional right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (better than suffering under-nourishment, exposure, and death, because you only had two week’s worth of food in the house). EVERYONE needs to have supplies and knowledge to make drinkable water, and grow a variety of sprouts. Per cost and nutrition, this is do-able for everyone.

  11. askmicah says:

    Update. It was related to fireworks. I still don’t have details like where the fireworks were or where they came from, but this would be a good learning thing to remember for people who store fireworks from year to year — keep them in a vented metal chest in a cool 50% humidity place if possible.

  12. cr says:


    You make a rather large assumption social security will be around much more than the next decade or two. As a late 20’s tax payer, I have no illusions I will see a dime of social security money. But for all of you who will hit that magic number in the next 10 years, you’re welcome.

    And sharon, it’s good to know that 9 month old will be a successful tax payer in the future. Would you also happen to have the powerball numbers for this week?

  13. westofburien says:

    I drove by while the fire was smoldering. I am just glad to hear that everyone made it out and there were no deaths to report. I hope the mother that was burned recovers soon and that the families are able to get the help and support they need. Prayers to all families involved in this tragedy and well wishes from West Seattle.

  14. Robin Pedersen says:

    I have wept as I read these cruel and judgmental comments. When a family in Christ is castigated and disparaged for raising a loving famiy up in righteousness, I cannot help but despair for this world. Do you really think that it is good, obedient, service oriented children that will destroy this world? May God forgive all of you who have thrown the first stone, I know that this Christ-centered family already has.

  15. Btown4LIFE! says:

    HAHAHA This whole comment feed is hilarious! I love Burien. We need more small retail shops! That will stop all the fires for sure!

  16. YIKES! says:

    Yes! More small retail shops! The smaller the better, and make sure they have a one child policy to appease the elderly, and judgmental citizens of Burien.

  17. jimmy says:

    not surprising it was fireworks just about every other summer there is a small bush fire on the side of the free-way there probably from the fire works or cig butts and dry grass it could happen anywhere at least everyone is safe now i think someone needs check the land there and try to find out why it gets so dry there if its just the wind from the freeway or what its rather dangerous in the middle of summer at least

  18. Burien spotter says:

    You should have seen the inside of the house, it was like hoarders!! Surprised it did not burn more than it did.

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