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US A family of 7 lost their home in Washington's wildfires. Then they all got Covid-19

02:25  02 october  2020
02:25  02 october  2020 Source:   cnn.com

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A devastated family in Washington state lost their home to a wildfire days before all seven members tested positive for coronavirus. The Graham family from Malden, around 37 miles south of Spokane, saw their home destroyed by the Babb Road on Labor day which wiped out most of the town.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta debunks Covid - 19 misconceptions. At least five others have been killed in Washington state and Oregon this week amid a series of out of control wildfires . Their home is one of dozens that have been lost to the Creek Fire . Now the family is sheltering with Wait' s parents in

Matthew Graham and his wife, Jessica, had taken their five kids to meet his brother's new puppy last month when a wildfire ripped through Walden, Washington, destroying their home and almost everything they owned.

a group of people posing for a photo: The Graham family is recovering from Covid-19 after losing their home in a wildfire. © Courtesy Jessica Graham The Graham family is recovering from Covid-19 after losing their home in a wildfire.

Two weeks later, all seven of them tested positive for Covid-19.

They have now quarantined themselves in two hotel rooms in Spokane Valley, where they're recovering and trying to plan their futures.

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The 2020 Washington wildfire season officially began in March 2020. The season is a part of the 2020 Western United States wildfires . By September, wildfires had burned over 713,000 acres

The fire has already left a trail of destruction, having burned over one million acres across the state, twice as much as the yearly average, the Oregonian reported . As the fires are being referred to as “historic” in terms of the number of conflagrations and the estimated damage

The Labor Day wildfire destroyed about 80% of Walden, about 35 miles south of Spokane, in eastern Washington state, including the fire station, post office, city hall and library, according to the Whitman County Sheriff's Office.

The Grahams lost their home, a barn and outbuildings where they stored things they weren't using, special baby clothes and other family mementos. Their dog was OK and their chicken coop was also spared, though some of the birds' feathers may have been singed.

"We were planning to come back that night, so we didn't pack a single thing," Jessica said.

They stayed with family after the fire and think that's how they were exposed to the coronavirus -- Jessica's dad had flu-like symptoms and Matthew's mom tested positive on September 20 after she'd babysat the children.

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"We were starting to experience symptoms at that time that we were hoping was just due to hazardous air quality," Jessica said. "But then that had gone away and we were getting worse instead of better."

Neither of their parents had to be hospitalized, but Matthew's mom did have pneumonia in both lungs.

Jessica and Matthew have felt exhausted but think they're on the way to recovery.

The kids, Constantine "Costa," 12, Claudia, 10, 7-year-old twins Adele and Zoe, and 5-year-old Darius, have fared much better. Jessica said they've occasionally felt feverish but would be better the next day.

"They're bouncing off the walls, but we're so thankful that they're healthy enough to bounce off the walls," Matthew said.

He said the community has been incredibly generous and given the family toys, board games and clothes for the whole family. A GoFundMe campaign for the family has raised more than $21,000.

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Jessica said rental homes are hard to find in the area, but they hope to find a more permanent place to stay once they get out of quarantine in a few days.

She said they'd like to stay in the community and are considering buying a new house or rebuilding "this amazing new house" on their property.

"That's what keeps us optimistic," she said. "We know one of those two outcomes is going to happen and we're gonna just have something that's even better than what we had before."

a pile of hay next to a forest: The Graham family was away when the September 7 fire destroyed their home. © Courtesy Jessica Graham The Graham family was away when the September 7 fire destroyed their home.

Oregon fires: This family left their home as a precaution. They returned to find it destroyed .
Cody Moss was at his home in Talent, Oregon, with his pregnant wife and daughter last week when they saw smoke in the sky. © Rob Schumacher/AP Several homes were destroyed by the Beachie Creek Fire east of Salem. They didn't think the fire was close to their home, but they decided to leave as a precaution. They hopped in one of their two cars and took the clothes on their back, expecting to return later in the day. But when they returned, their home had burned to the ground. Everything was gone.

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