Salt Lake Family In Search of Home After Deadly Fire

Kangichy Welle
Kangichy Welle

PEARL KAI (KHNL) - It's been two days since the large family from Salt Lake lost their home and one of their own to a deadly fire.

They've been staying at an emergency shelter ever since, a service which was only supposed to last through Saturday. But on Friday, the American Red Cross extended their stay after case workers visited the family.

They determined their living situation is unique, so the Red Cross has decided to continue providing them with an emergency shelter, at least for now.

Tears have dried up from their big brown eyes, some too young to understand, why one is no longer with their family.

5-year-old John Rex Ceasar, nicknamed J-Boy, died in the fire that ripped through the family's home on Wednesday. Relatives say he was a happy child, always friendly, even to those he hardly knew.

"We have a lot of challenges and especially the family are still trying to get over the shock," said J-Boy's uncle, Kanigichy Welle.

Now homeless, this family of about 30 people is at Harbor Shores Apartment Hotel, an emergency shelter the American Red Cross set up. Some have tried to salvage belongings at their charred home, only to find there's not much left.

"It's a very sensitive thing for especially the children and the mothers, for them to go back there, it's just looking from afar they would easily break down," said Welle.

They know their stay at Harbor Shores is only temporary, but relatives say the family is thankful for the help they've received.

"We owe them a great deal. We cannot describe in words how grateful we are," said Welle.

As a medical team checked for symptoms of post-fire smoke inhalation, the American Red Cross scrambled to come up with long-term recovery plan in hopes of making it easier for the family to cope with the one thing they can't bring back.

A fund for the family is set-up at Bank of Hawaii with an account called 'In Loving Memory of John Rex Ceasar'. All Bank of Hawaii branches are accepting donations.