• 'Suspicious' fire leaves family of six homeless, living in tents on property

    By: Shelby Miller


    YELM, Wash. - A suspected arson fire in Yelm destroyed a home and left a family of six with no place to go.

    “I don’t understand how people can destroy somebody else’s lives. It’s hard,” said April Eighinger. 

    Eighinger got emotional as she gazed at what remained of the home where she and her husband, Bill Lemm, raised their four kids.

    “I’m just grateful nobody was here, I really am,” she said. 

    On June 13, Eighinger’s son saw smoke and realized their home was on fire. 

    The Thurston County Sheriff’s Department said the fire is under investigation for arson. 

    “Once it was extinguished, crews found what they thought were suspicious things about it, primarily writing on the windows that indicated it was a payback for something,” said Chief Mark King, SE Thurston Fire Authority. 

    “Why would somebody do this to somebody? How could somebody be OK with themselves and do this?” questioned Eighinger. 

    Without a home, the family of six is left living in tents pitched feet away from the charred home. 

    “This is our new living quarters. Our kids stay in one, and we sleep in the other,” said Eighinger. 

    She said the kids, who range in age from 2 to 14, are having a tough time. 

    “It’s very hard on them. They’ll see a friend, and they’ll just kind of shut down. They don’t want to discuss it,” said Eighinger. 

    The family had been renting the home for eight years. They said their landlord asked them to leave the property. 

    Eighinger said the family can’t afford a hotel and they are searching for a place to go while they pick up the pieces. 

    “I have nothing left. There’s nothing left,” said Eighinger. 

    The Red Cross was called and assisted the family in the days following the fire. 

    The family’s church, Jesus Name Pentecostal Church, is taking donations for the family, including clothing for the children. 

    A GoFundMe has been started to raise money. 

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