Dores find help in angels and Kingstonites alike

KINGSTON — As Rosanne Dore searched through the charred remains of her fire-destroyed home, she found an angel.

Dore, a widowed mother of three, lost everything in her Kingston-area home March 6 when a space-heater caught fire and burned her 850-square-foot house to the ground.

As she searched the rubble in the house in the days that followed, she came upon a coat — one of the few items she’s found that wasn’t burned. Attached to the coat was a small pin depicting an angel that one of her co-workers at Kingston Junior High School gave to her.

“It’s heavily smoked,” Dore said, “But the jacket it was attached to was in perfect condition.”

One of the few possessions she has left, she cherishes the pin, proudly wearing it to work in the kitchen at the junior high school.

A space heater has been determined to be the culprit of the blaze March 6, which displaced the family of four from their 5-acre farm. Dore was at North Kitsap Auditorium that night, watching her 17 year-old Sarah, perform in the high school play “Brigadoon.”

A neighbor spotted the flames on the rear of the house from a distance and called 911. North Kitsap Fire and Rescue was dispatched at around 8 p.m., with water tanks holding around 3,000 gallons — as no hydrants are near their rural home — to extinguish the flames.

“By the time they got the fire department out there, it was a full blaze,” Dore said. “Very, very hot.”

So hot, that NKF&R officials reported the fire had “reduced coins to molten metals.”

Dore was not notified of the fire immediately, as she had turned off her cell phone during the play. She waited for her daughter, Sarah, to finish the performance before giving her the news.

When the family returned home, reality set in.

“My daughter Sarah said, ‘Kitty!’ and I thought, ‘Oh my god — my wedding video,’” Dore said.

The family has several types of animals on their farm, including two cats — one of which was lost in the fire.

Dore said she also thinks often of her husband, who died 9 years ago — and whose stories were more tangible before the house burned down.

“My husband built (the house) and there’s all the things of him there that are not replacable,” she remarked.

Looking back, Dore said it’s the things that go unnoticed that are hardest about losing her home.

“I didn’t even have shoes to go to work in,” she said. “It’s just the little things that you can’t replace.”

Dore’s insurance coverage allows them $100 a day — enough to afford a night’s stay at the Poulsbo Inn, but not enough to put down a deposit on a rental.

“I had a really bad insurance plan,” Dore said. It’s a whole bunch of Catch-22s.”

In retrospect, she said she would gladly pay a few more dollars for a better coverage — but she thought the one she had was good enough.

“It’s devastation enough but then I have to go through this,” she said. “But I also really got stuck with a bad policy.”

Her coverage won’t cover a full replacement, which has made rebuilding on the property tricky. She is looking into a manufactured home for the property.

“I looked at one and it boosted my spirits,” Dore recalled.

She has a message for everyone with insurance coverage — make sure it is what you think it is.

“I really want people to look at their policy,” she said. “Sometimes, you don’t know.”

Through the devastating process of losing her home, Dore said she’s received the most sincere blessing of all — the aspect she said keeps her going.

“What keeps me up right now is the community,” she said. “I never ask for help. But the fire department ... this community, has been so generous.”

Dore said her daughters have also been very supportive, helping her with insurance lists and giving each other lots of hugs, she said.

Dore returned to work at Kingston Junior High, where she is an assistant cook in the kitchen, March 16. She was overwhelmed with support from her co-workers and fellow community members.

“I thought no one knew me that I was a nobody that lived on a dead-end road,” she said. “But the outpouring of kindness ... I was thinking no one was in my corner yet the community was here for me.”

Jars have been placed around the school to help collect money, Kingston PTA secretary and treasurer Dana Hall said, and a benevolent account has been created at Bank of America in Dore’s name.

“I praise her for everything she’s gone through,” Hall said. “We felt this was something that needed to be done.”

“I’m absolutely blessed to be in this community,” Dore added.

Back in the kitchen, Dore and fellow assistant cook Derrelyn Wahl — the woman who gave her the “angel,” that survived the fire — talked about the amazing pin that survived the blaze.

Wahl, who received the angel pins from hospice caregivers helping her own mother, was overwhelmed when Dore told her the story of the coat and pin that somehow survived the fire.

“When I heard the (Dore’s) story, it gave me goosebumps,” Wahl said.

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