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Family displaced by fire receives generous support from Arlington businesses, residents

ARLINGTON — It was a regular Friday night for Taj Posey, her boyfriend Jared and her two children.

As they often do after dinner during warm, summer nights, they took a walk downtown to the Local Scoop for ice cream.

“On the way down I noticed people coming out of their shops,” Posey said. “We turned and saw a huge cloud of smoke.”

That smoke was coming from Posey’s home, located in the 200 block of South Dunham Avenue. By the time the four had reached their home, it was in flames.

While nobody was hurt in the Aug. 13 fire, the home, which was being rented by Posey, was a complete loss.

Posey, along with her 10-year-old son, Tatum, and 3-year-old daughter, Mia, lost nearly everything to the fire. Now, with the help of the Arlington community, the single mother who recently lost her job is beginning a long trek back to normalcy.

Since the fire, more than 30 community members have donated clothing, toys and money to the 29-year-old Arlington resident and her children. One of Posey’s neighbors has even offered to let Posey and her two kids stay at their rental home, conveniently located just up the street from Posey’s burned out home, as long as they need it.

The cost? Free of charge.

Their new rental home, which has the same layout as their old home, will allow Tatum and Mia to keep the friends they’ve met within their neighborhood.

Posey is hoping to move in within the next month.

“Me and my family are so appreciative of everything. It’s unbelievable,” Posey said. “Sometimes you think that people are moving so fast in their lives that they don’t think of others. That’s just not true.”

Taj, along with her mother Sharon Posey, said that they are also grateful to the firefighters and emergency medical service responders that came to their rescue.

“I’m so thankful to the firefighters,” Taj Posey said. “I didn’t even get a chance to thank them that night.”

Posey said that one of the firefighters even saved the family hamster, Mrs. Mango, in heroic fashion.

Both children were lying on the ground crying when they looked up and saw a firefighter coming out of the flaming house with his hand extended.

“He said ‘I’ve got a hamster,’” Posey said. “Then he took it over with Tate and Mia and gave oxygen to the hamster. It was like something out of a movie. It was really spectacular.”

Posey and her two children are now staying with her dad in north Arlington until they can move into their new rental.

The young family has received boxes of Teddy bears, clothing, bed spreads, furniture, food and even gift cards for groceries.

Posey said that the manager at the Arlington Food Pavilion gave her a $100 gift card for food, and a number of employees at the store have given her money as well.

Arlington businesses have also been chipping in. Posey said that employees at Arlington Hardware and the Klothing Vault have been collecting and donating funds for Posey and her family.

The day after the fire, Posey and her boyfriend, Jared, were salvaging items from the home when a neighbor came up to them and offered them money for dinner.

“These are people who don’t have very much,” said Sharon Posey. “People were offering us money out of their pockets. It was just one thing after another.”

While it’s difficult for the children to understand the family’s loss, Mia has been enjoying her new toys and clothes.

Her favorite item is her new swimsuit.

“It’s been hard on them,” Taj Posey said.

Sharon Posey said in a letter to the editor that she wanted to thank the community for their help.

“We thank you for the support and kind donations all of you showed and gave Taj and her children,” Posey wrote. “We are very proud to be part of this great community.”

The Snohomish County Fire Marshal has not yet determined the cause of the fire.

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