Fire Destroys Bedroom Of Skiatook 6th Grader, Bullying Victim
SKIATOOK, Oklahoma - A fire torched a Green Country girl's room the day after Christmas.
We introduced you to the 11-year-old last month, when the young girl shared her heart-wrenching story about being bullied on a Skiatook school bus.
When we first talked with the 6th grade girl, she told us about being punched so hard by a high school boy that she was left with a concussion. Things were starting to look up for the little girl when the fire happened.
Now, sounds of a construction project are all around Ginifer Ree's house.
"It has been a bad year," Ree said.
It was an unplanned undertaking after an electrical fire scorched parts of the 75-year-old home, the night after Christmas.
"This got the brunt of it, besides the attic," Ree said.
The room most heavily damaged belongs to Ree's 11-year-old daughter. The fire started in the attic, just above the young girl's bed.
"There was nothing but insulation and just trash, everything was trashed," said Ree.
Fortunately, the flames didn't spread into the room, but smoke and water damaged, or destroyed, all of the little girl's things--clothes and toys included.
"Everything ended up in the yard and in the trash pile," Ree said.
It was just a little more than a month ago that the young girl, a victim of bullying, cried at her kitchen table, telling us her one simple wish.
"I just want to be like a normal person," said the 11-year-old girl in November.
The normalcy of life had just about crept in when the fire tried to rip it away.
But there was a message left hanging on her bedroom wall--a little cross etched with the big word, "Believe." It serves as a sign that things will be okay.
"She's a strong little girl. She's stronger than me," said her mother. "She's just thankful that her house wasn't completely burned to the ground."
When the news spread through Skiatook, Ree said the community stepped in, donating building supplies, clothes and even money.
In a matter of days, the carpet was ripped out, sheet rock was replaced and, because Ree's husband, Steve, is an electrician, the entire house was rewired.
"We are very fortunate. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but at least we can say that we can work on it and fix it and rebuild it," said Ree.
So, as family, friends and even strangers help rebuild, it seems, in a year full of heartache, the good just might end up outshining the bad.
"I can't even say thank you enough to the people who have donated and helped us and just called and said prayers for us," Ree said. "It has meant the world and it's so much appreciated."
The family said, because their main source of heat is a wood-burning stove, they can't get insurance.
An account has been set up at the First Bank of Owasso under "Kelly S. Ree & Ginifer Ree Fire Fund."