Family loses everything they own, again

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RIVERDALE -- A Weber County family spent the day trying to figure out what to do next. They lost everything they owned Tuesday in a house fire, and it's the second time in the past few years they're having to start over.

The Richards family is trying to stay positive, but life sometimes has an interesting way of testing that. "I guess we're doing as good as we can," said Mack Richards. "I'm just tired of starting over, just tired of starting over."

Mack and his family have already started over before. Their house burned in 1989, then Hurricane Katrina wiped out their Gulfport, Miss., home in 2005.

"I grew up in Florida. I've lived through a lot of hurricanes. I never had one as devastating as that one. It was just terrible," said Mack's wife, Jennifer Richards.

"Of course we evacuated when the hurricane came. But when we went back, it was all gone. We brought what we had, and that what we had left over, and that's what we built from there," Mack said.

Now a fire has wiped out their Riverdale home. "I don't know what we're going to do. I don't know how many times we can do this. I don't know. It's heartbreaking," Jennifer said.

Mack, Jennifer and their four children looked for items Wednesday afternoon that maybe made it through the fire. Neighbors and friends helped, but after a few minutes it was clear to them everything burned.

"Everybody is like, ‘What do you need? What do you need?' And, I mean, how do you answer that question when you have nothing?" Mack said.

Fire investigators say no one was home at the time the fire started. It's being called an accidental fire, maybe from an electrical problem.

"It's pretty upsetting. They've been through a lot. Some things are fair. Some things aren't fair, but it seems like these guys have been kicked a couple of times," said Riverdale Fire Chief Doug Illum.

Now, once again, the Richards have no home. But like in all those other times, they do have each other. "As long as we're together. We were together then, we're together now. No one is hurt, but it still hurts," Mack said.

The family is hoping to stay here in Utah, preferably Riverdale, but right now they just don't know what's going to happen. In the meantime, they're staying in a nearby hotel while they wait to hear from their insurance company.

If you'd like to help the Richards family, food, toys, clothes, even furniture donations can be made. The items can be dropped off at the Riverview Mobile Estates, where the family lives (801-475-5680) or at the Riverdale Fire Department (801-394-7481).

An account has also been set up at America First Credit Union under the name Mack and Jennifer Richards. If you have any questions about the account you send an e-mail to: has not verified the accuracy of the information provided with respect to the account nor does assure that the monies deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.


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