Central Whidbey woman remains homeless after fire

Central Whidbey resident Linda Lines holds her pomeranian, Snickers. Lines and Snickers were unscathed after a fire June 9 damaged her Crockett Lake Estates home. - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Central Whidbey resident Linda Lines holds her pomeranian, Snickers. Lines and Snickers were unscathed after a fire June 9 damaged her Crockett Lake Estates home.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

Linda Lines has been struggling to find a new place to live after firefighters pulled her from a burning home last week.

Since the fire that damaged her Crockett Lake Estates home June 9, the 60-year-old disabled woman has been living in a hotel room in Oak Harbor. Thanks to the firefighters, she wasn’t injured in the blaze.

“I’d be a lot better if I could find a permanent place to live,” Lines said Monday afternoon while she was visiting her daughter, Jennifer James, who lives next door with four children.

Lines, who is fighting multiple sclerosis and confined to a wheelchair, went to bed late in the evening June 5. Early the next morning, she awoke to find smoke filling her bedroom.

“It took me 10 minutes to get out of bed,” Lines said, adding that her medical alert service equipment stopped operating earlier in the day. When she sat into her motorized wheelchair, she wheeled herself into a neighboring bedroom and called 911.

When firefighters arrived on scene, they discovered a fire in the front room of Lines’ home. Firefighters Jerry Helm, David Mott and Kevin Moberg worked together to save her from the burning home. Paramedics transported her to Whidbey General Hospital where she was eventually released.

The fire was limited to the front room, but the entire house appeared to have sustain smoke damage.

“I lost everything,” she said.

She was especially worried about her six cats and two dogs that live with her. Fortunately, they all appeared to have gotten out, but she’s worried about a cat that may have inhaled too much smoke.

Lines has been confined to a wheelchair for 10 years and was diagnosed with MS when she was 23. She is a well-known vendor at several farmers markets on Whidbey Island. She runs Kitten Kaboodle and sells homemade cat toys and cat nip. She has been selling at various Whidbey markets since 1988.

Unfortunately, all of her materials, sewing machine and equipment were destroyed because of the fire. The items she had in her van are all that’s left.

Lines said she is working with her insurance company to find a place to live until her home can be repaired. She was also grateful of the assistance from the Red Cross, her daughter, friends and Central Whidbey firefighters .

She hopes to return to her small house once repairs are complete. The community has helped Lines maintain her home. In mid-2009, volunteers from Central Whidbey Hearts and Hammers visited her home and cleaned up her yard.

She said it’s been difficult finding a new home because she needs handicap accessibility and a place willing to take at least some of her pets.

For anyone wishing to help Lines, they can call her daughter, Jennifer, at 969-5991.

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