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September 26, 2012 06:00 PM

Mothers Lose Everything In Mitchell House Fire

Mitchell, SD

Two single mothers are picking up the pieces following a fire that ripped through their rental home.

It happened in Mitchell over the weekend. The women were able to escape but still lost everything.

The fire started in their rental home at the corner of E. 1st Avenue and S. Hunter Street early Saturday morning and it consumed the entire inside of the house.

Tanisha Jeno and her two-year-old son along with Chelsea Lutz and her three-year-old daughter had decided to move in together to help save some money. The two women and their toddlers are still searching for a place to live.

The fire started near the water heater in the laundry room and woke up another friend who was staying in the house who then woke up Lutz who had just finished working an overnight shift.

"This is what I got out with.  My clothes, with my hoodies that I left in the car that night when I got off work" Lutz said.

The two single mothers had just moved into the house five days before the fire. They didn't have renter's insurance and all they have now are the clothes on their back.

Fortunately, Jeno was in Huron that morning with her two-year-old son because her room in the house is right next to the utility room where the fire started.

"I thought maybe we would be able to take some things out of here, but then they let us look and it was heartbreaking that everything we worked hard for was gone," Jeno said.

The two women say the smoke detectors were in a drawer in the kitchen and hadn't been put up yet. And while they've lost everything, they say they're fortunate that no one was hurt and that they were able to salvage a few valuables and pictures.

"The one thing they brought out of my room, the only thing they gave me, was a picture book. It was shoved in the back of my closet," Jeno said.

"The important things, the things that really did matter, survived," Lutz said.

And that's all that matters to the two mothers who are now searching for a new place to call home after only living in this one for less than a week.

There is a fund set up for the women at the First National Bank in Mitchell.

Tanisha Jeno and Chelsea Lutz Fire Fund

First National Bank
210 North Lawler Street
Mitchell, SD

605-996-7755

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