Saratoga Springs family shares update after house fire left father in burn unit
Jun 11, 2023, 10:18 PM | Updated: Jun 12, 2023, 5:39 am
SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah — Amanda Collins opened the second-floor balcony door of her Airbnb apartment to let her dog, Oreo, inside. Normally, Oreo and their other dog Carbon have a yard to roam in.
The family has to make do with the apartment because the home they were renting is no longer livable. She explained that last Tuesday, she had taken her three kids and some neighbor kids to the pool in Lindon, Utah, when her phone rang.
“My husband called me and said, ‘There’s a fire at the house. I don’t know what happened. I need to call 911,'” she recounted.
Amanda immediately began heading back home, wondering how bad it was while trying to stay calm for the kids.
She would arrive to find her husband Blake had already been taken to the hospital, and while fire damaged mainly the garage and her son’s room upstairs, smoke seeped into every part of the home.
Blake was napping when he awoke to the smell of smoke, she would later find out.
“It was coming from the garage, so he went and opened the door. And when he opened the door, it back flashed him, and it singed his face all his hair,” she said. “And then he reached in to open the big garage door and burned his hand.”
Blake was able to escape, as well as their rescued Oreo. But Carbon ran upstairs and became trapped in their bedroom. Firefighters ultimately saved the 100-pound lab and brought him out of the burning home.
Amanda explained how her husband suffered second- and third-degree burns. Plastic had melted into his fingertips, and the top layer of skin had completely blistered and was hanging off.
Nearly a week later, Blake is still in the University of Utah burn unit, and Amanda says he will need to undergo skin grafting surgery. Best case scenario, she said, he’s released in a week or two weeks.
Amanda was originally the one preparing for surgery, after a devastating diagnosis seven months ago.
“Back in December, I was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer. Stage 3, grade 3,” she explained.
She began undergoing chemotherapy in January, plus holistic treatments. Her weeks were filled with appointments. Amanda is scheduled to have a mastectomy in July, with a six to eight-week recovery window.
The day of the fire, she had received good news: Her surgeon told her they couldn’t detect any cancer. She was set to have her last chemo session later in the week.
“So, I was riding on a high, and I was like, ‘I’m just going to take the day. And not nothing, nothing is going to take my joy today,'” she said.
Even with the fire, she was trying to stay positive. The couple has renter’s insurance.
“I was like, ‘Oh, insurance is going to cover it. We’re going to be fine,'” she thought. “And then I realized when I talked to my insurance that they said my policy’s only 10k. So, it covers $10,000 personal liability.”
She explained that that’s only a fraction of what was inside their garage and home. The family had a side-by-side in the garage, as well as a dirt bike her 9-year-old son had saved up his own money to purchase recently. They also owned kayaks and other outdoor equipment.
She doesn’t think much can be salvaged from their entire house.
As they start over, Amanda is still finding the positive.
Neighbors immediately took Amanda and her kids in for the rest of the week until they got settled in the Airbnb.
“The community really rallied, and they gave all my kids clothes and toys,” she said.
A friend started a GoFundMe* fundraiser to help with medical bills and to get their household back on its feet. Despite everything they’ve been through, Amanda is grateful that her Blake can recover and that her family is safe.
“So that’s really all that matters: That we’re okay,” she said.
The Saratoga Springs Fire Department said Sunday they are still investigating what started the fire and can say that so far, they’ve only been able to pinpoint that it began in the garage.
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