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Community supports Tamaqua family after fire

A Tamaqua family is getting a ton of support from the community after losing their house to an electrical fire in January.

Just before 5 a.m. on Jan. 27, Hometown resident Tim Ziegler woke up.

“I jumped up, ran into the hall and the first thing … I saw an orange glow,” Ziegler said during an interview last month.

His instincts took over, despite dealing with sluggish and confusing effects due to the carbon monoxide from the fire.

Tim went upstairs, woke up and saved his mother, Renae, and both were able to escape the devastating life-altering moment without much harm.

“After I called 911, the fire companies were there in 3-5 minutes. They were amazing,” Ziegler said.

Ziegler said the important thing was that everyone made it out alive. Both dogs - a puppy and a 17-year-old, escaped with Tim and Renae. Tim couldn’t find his cat, but Kiki was later found in the basement, unharmed, miraculously hiding inside of a mattress. His nieces also live at the home, but both were fortunately not present during the time of the fire.

“The entire house is gutted right now,” Ziegler said. “I had to throw away nine contractor bags of my clothes away.”

The family is currently living in a temporary home at Lake Hauto. Ziegler said the insurance pays for rent and thankfully has provided many other items for the family. Fortunately, he explained that insurance will cover mostly everything when it’s all said and done.

“They have been amazing,” Ziegler said of the insurance. “They brought furniture - all of the basics, coffee pot, microwave, sweeper, ironing board, towels - they gave us all of the basics.”

The community is rallying around to help out.

Vanessa Boyle, of Brockton, has put together a Pampered Chef fundraiser.

“In the world we are living in, it is important to treat others with kindness,” Boyle said. “We are blessed that we live in a community that supports each other, especially during tough times.

“I am just grateful that I can ease their kitchen stress and provide the opportunity to restock the house.”

As of Friday, Boyle said $450 in cash was raised. Additionally, over $2,000 in products as gifts, another $500 toward anything not purchased on their wish list and much more.

“We didn’t ask for anything and we’re constantly getting gift cards and cash,” Ziegler said. “I am so humbled by all of it.”

Ziegler has been heavily involved in local cancer benefits for many years. It was an adjustment being on the opposite end of things.

“Everything is working out and there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “We are so appreciative ­- my entire family, we didn’t expect it. Vanessa and the rest of the community have done so much for us. Everyone in the community has been amazing.”

The home means so much to Tim and Renae.

“My dad only got to live in it for not even a year before he was diagnosed with cancer and he died two months later,” said Ziegler, whose father passed away years ago. “Insurance told my mom they could knock it down and build a new one. My mom said no, my husband died here, it’s the last thing we purchased. She said we would remodel it, but not knock it down.”

Sometimes life works in mysterious ways. Ziegler reflected on that January night and is still surprised that he woke up.

And a few days later, Tim noticed many bruises on his body.

“I am such a deep sleeper,” Ziegler said. “I woke up and I don’t know why. I thought how did I get black-and-blue? My mom said it could have been my dad punching me to wake me up.”

For more information on the Pampered Chef fundraiser, visit pamperedchef.com/party/ziegler2021

Tim Ziegler looks through his gutted house in Hometown after an electrical fire in January. TIMES NEWS FILE PHOTO