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In-home daycare provider out of job, home due to fire

Deanna and Tom have five kids of their own (the newborn baby girl is not pictured). They also have two foster children. Submitted Photo1 / 3
"Extensive smoke damage" could be seen through the rest of the house. Submitted Photo2 / 3
The fire started because of an electrical issue in the dishwasher. Submitted Photo3 / 3

A fire caused by an electrical issue in a dishwasher left a Callaway family of seven displaced on Monday, Dec. 4.

No one was home at the time of the incident, so no one was injured.

The homeowner, Deanna Dinh, had apparently taken her youngest children to a dentist appointment Monday morning (the older children were in school) and, when she returned in the afternoon, she noticed smoke pouring from the house and called 9-1-1.

The Callaway Fire Department, assisted by the Detroit Lakes, Ogema, and White Earth fire departments, responded to the call, which came in at 2:47 p.m., and spent about two hours fighting the flames. But the kitchen was destroyed, and smoke made its way through the rest of the house causing "extensive damage," according to Callaway Fire Chief Keith Hineland.

"Right now, all of the personal belongings in the home are lost," said Dinh's sister, Andrea Bartnes.

Bartnes says her sister is still pretty shocked after the incident. Dinh, who is an in-home daycare provider, had been on maternity leave after having a baby in October, but was planning to return to work soon. Now, after the fire, she is out of a job as well as a home.

She says Dinh, along with her partner, Tom Mertens, and their seven children have been shuffling around to different family members until they hear back from their insurance company and are able to fix the damage, though that could take some time.

"With there being so many of them, it's kind of hard for them to find a place to stay," said Bartnes, adding that the family is planning to stay with Mertens's grandmother for the time being.

"It's going to take a while," said Bartnes.

To help the family until insurance comes through, Bartnes has started a GoFundMe page, with the goal of raising $5,000 for the family: https://www.gofundme.com/deanna-tom.

There is also a benefit scheduled for the family Dec. 16, starting at 6 p.m. at the Ogema Community Center.

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