Family tries to recover after fire
THE CHAVARRIA FAMILY, from left, Liceth, 10, Juan, Fernanda, 16, and Maria look over some of their charred belongings to see if there anything to salvage.
Juan and Maria Chavarria are waiting to find out how much of their loss insurance will cover after they were burned out of their Park Tree Lane duplex on March 26.
The Chavarrias and two of their daughters, 16-year-old Fernanda and 10-year-old Liceth, were burned out of the home the couple has owned for the past 19 years. Their challenge is compounded by the fact that Juan, who was a cook for 23 years, was laid off from his job in September. The family is existing on his unemployment checks and the income Maria earns working at the Community Child Care Council at Sassarini Elementary.
The Chavarrias are unsure what their insurance will cover since they were in the process of re-adjusting their mortgage when the fire occurred.
For the time being, the family is split up with Maria, Fernanda and Liceth staying with one set of relatives while Juan is staying with other relatives.
The couple still doesn't know what started the fire, only that it began somewhere in the backyard.
The couple's daughter, also named Maria, translated during an interview, as her parents speak little English.
"Fernanda was the only one at home when the fire started," the younger Maria Chavarria said. "She had just gotten out of the shower when she heard a pop and saw flames in the backyard. She ran next door and got the neighbors out."
Forty-three firefighters from Sonoma Valley Fire and Rescue Authority, Glen Ellen, Schell-Vista and Kenwood got the blaze under control in a little more than a half hour, but the fire spread to the attic and flared up, shooting flames above the two-story duplex.
The family escaped with only the clothes on their backs. The fire destroyed everything they owned.
After the fire, the Red Cross put them up for three days at the El Pueblo Inn and gave them a debit card to buy food and some clothing.
The Chavarrias have looked at a couple of temporary places to live, their daughter said, but haven't had a lot of luck.
Juan, through his daughter Maria, said, "We're just waiting to see what's going to happen. We have to resolve the insurance."
Maria said her 16-year-old sister is OK, but her 10-year-old sister still has a hard time with what happened.
"Nobody could believe it for the first couple of days," Maria Chavarria said. "It was a nightmare."
But nobody was hurt in the blaze which quickly went to multiple alarms.
Anybody wishing to help the family can call Maria Chavarria at 721-7549.