Thursday, June 20, 2024

Manson family endures tragic blaze, community rallies in support

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MANSON – A devastating fire engulfed the Pacheco Family home in Manson on Thursday, August 24, prompting a heroic response from local firefighters and leaving the family in need of support from their community.

Originating in an unattended, enclosed room off the family’s porch, the flames began to take over the structure as Francisco Pacheco, 19, slept in the room sharing a wall with the affected space. His younger sisters remained asleep as well.  The parents, Haydee Pacheco and Eleazar Pacheco Sr., were not home when the fire started, attending to their other daughter's high school orientation. Upon returning home and discovering the fire, Eleazar Sr., sustained severe burns on his right hand while attempting to extinguish the fire and rescue his children.

Francisco called the Manson Fire Department at 9:18 a.m. to report the rapidly spreading fire.

"Upon our arrival, the structure was already significantly engulfed," recounted Chris Willoughby, a seasoned firefighter and EMT, reflecting on the chaotic scene that unfolded. It took tireless efforts spanning several hours to contain the blaze and secure the premises.

Amidst the devastation, the family found temporary solace at a neighbor's home before being offered shelter at Lakeside Lodge and Suites, a gesture of compassion from the resort's owner. As of now, the Pacheco Family has accomodations until September 2, with additional assistance from the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has pledged support for extending their stay, yet the family's urgent need for a stable, long-term housing solution remains.

Animals integral to the family's life—five dogs, a cat, five chickens, and a rabbit—were left behind during the crisis, adding to their distress. For Eleazar Sr., a skilled tractor driver and welder at Auvil Fruit Company, a six-week hiatus from work is anticipated while he heals.

In a show of solidarity, the community swiftly rallied to provide aid, offering gift cards, cash, food, short-term storage, and even furniture and appliances. A GoFundMe campaign, aptly titled "Pacheco Family Assistance," has garnered substantial support, with $8,970 of the $50,000 goal raised by August 31. The Manson Firefighter’s Association has played an active role, coordinating donations and utilizing a QR code for easy financial contributions.

Eleazar Pacheco Jr., 23, expressed his gratitude, stating, "We're deeply thankful to all who've reached out to help us. The donations, calls, concern—it means the world to us."

To support the Pacheco Family, visit their GoFundMe page: https://gofund.me/815bfdae.

The Manson Firefighter’s Association's QR code is also available for those who wish to contribute directly.

Katie Lindert: 509-731-3211 or katie@ward.media

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