When the Coopers went to sleep on the night of July 4, they had no idea they would lose nearly everything they owned by morning.
Maurice and Deja were asleep in their bed that night. One after another, their two daughters and their son crawled into bed with them for various reasons. As the family slumbered, smoke began to fill room after room of the home. At about 1:50 AM, the intense smell of smoke woke Maurice up.
Soon Deja was wide awake, too. The family had only moments to escape, with smoke giving way to a quickly spreading fire. But God’s providence prevailed, and thankfully, the family was already together in the same room.
Deja later said that the smell of smoke was so overwhelming she didn’t think about what she needed to do. She just grabbed her daughter and ran. Depositing the children safely into the family car, Maurice tried to go back for their dog, who was locked in his kennel. Deja tackled him to prevent him from entering the flames and putting himself in danger.
Firefighters arrived on the scene moments later. They were able to rescue the family pet, but the house succumbed to the fire.
Friends from their home church First United Methodist Church (FUMC) of Elgin, arrived in the following days to bring some clothing for the family. FUMC is part of the Austin Disaster Relief Network, and soon the Coopers connected with our staff and volunteer teams. ADRN provided them with emergency funding and additional clothes to help them get through the short term while they figure out their path to recovery. They found shelter at a hotel for the first few nights and then moved to a friend’s home nearby, looking for a more permanent place to live.
Disasters like the fire that destroyed the Coopers’ home can happen to anyone anytime. ADRN responds to these isolated incidents year-round – about 80-100 smaller disasters every year – and to major disasters that make the news. Families like the Coopers need help and hope as they navigate the crisis. It’s still a disaster, even if only one family feels the impact.