COEUR d’ALENE — Watching his melted, smoke-blackened Chevy towed from his driveway this afternoon, Blake Williams admitted that January hasn't been his month.
Last week, the 40-year-old’s single family home on Sunrise Drive caught fire. A few days later, Blake found it ransacked.
But it isn't all bad.
"We've been getting lots of help," Blake said, standing by his charred and boarded up home.
Blake said a crack in the chimney caused a fire last Thursday morning at the house, where the Coeur d’Alene native lives with his 5-year-old son, Kylen. Blake also has a roommate he preferred not be named, who lives in the house with his 8-year-old daughter.
It was lucky for all she was there last week, Blake noted, when the fire started early in the morning.
"His daughter had woke up for school, noticed the smoking house and woke up everybody in the house," Blake said.
While all four and their dog fled the house without injury, the structure didn't make it through unscathed, Blake said.
He spoke softly as he tallied it all again. While flames only damaged the garage and attic, Blake said, furniture and other items suffered smoke and water damage.
“They had to rip the roof out to put the fire out,” he said, pointing up at it.
The home is insured by Allstate, Blake said, which is still analyzing the case. The insurance has put up the residents in a hotel where they are still living, he said.
"We went there with the clothes on our backs," said Blake, a cook and dishwasher at The Porch restaurant.
A recovery crew has been cleaning the home's interior, he added.
Things didn't get better right away.
When Blake visited the house on Saturday, he said, it was immediately apparent they had been burglarized.
Personal belongings, family pictures, clothes, were strewn everywhere, he said.
His son's piggy bank was smashed on the floor.
"Seeing all your pictures on lying on the floor ... The cleanup crew had been really nice, trying to help keep things organized," Blake said of his reaction. "To have somebody go through and trash everything you're trying to save ... Just horrible. I can't believe somebody would do that."
Blake said a laptop had been stolen, as well as a DVD player.
The police report totals the stolen items at $930.
Blake isn't sure how the house was broken into. The police report mentions that windows were broken.
"The police said there have been robberies in the area," Blake said.
It doesn't help that the front end of Blake's Chevy Tahoe was damaged by the fire. Blake doesn't have insurance to cover those repairs, he said.
But he has some optimism.
They hope to move back into the house eventually, he said.
"Allstate is going to find us another place to stay," Blake said of their immediate plans.
Neighbors have been very generous, he added.
One neighbor provided a $100 gift card for them to buy clothes, he said. Residents across the street donated toys to the kids.
He doesn't ask for much now, he said.
“Just watch out for looters," Blake said.