It’s been more than a month since Mikayla Ross and her family were displaced following a fire that destroyed the loft they had been living in.
The family were among those affected by the downtown fire that left a hole in the middle of Denison’s Main Street on Oct. 9.
Mikayla, her husband Gabriel Hoops and their daughter Matea Hoops lost everything in the fire. Her husband didn’t even have his shoes on when the family vacated their home.
“You don’t realize how much of a traumatic experience it can be until you are doing your day-to-day routine and all your stuff is gone,” Ross said. “It has been an eye opening experience for us.”
Ross said the family never intended to leave the community she calls home. She now feels even closer to many of those people who showed up to provide support for her family during these difficult times.
“We are grateful for the community,” Ross said. “I am very humbled by everything that has happened. I believe everything happens for a reason. Other opportunities have made their way to us that wouldn’t have been possible without this happening. It has been a ripple effect. Everything is not as bad as you think it is.”
It was the adults that bore the hardest burden she said. Her daughter, who even lost her teddy bear, has been adjusting well. Ross said her daughter had a little trouble sleeping at first. She kept asking her mom to go home. Ross explained to her that home wasn’t there anymore. She finally took her child over to see the rubble, and then it sank in. Mateo is resilient and has gotten on with her life, Ross said.
The family is on the road to normal as they have settled into a new routine.
“The day of the fire, I was pretty much in shock,” Ross said. “I couldn’t believe it. My loft was the one on fire. It seemed unreal. It didn’t feel like I was experiencing it. I was very shocked. I became upset and sad. Thinking about that day, I was very overwhelmed.”
Ross’s parents provided a place for the family to stay while they got on their feet. During the month since, she said the community has really been good to them, making sure their needs have been met. She said that remains on the forefront of her mind: thinking of ways to show that appreciation to the community.
“I am beside myself,” she said. “I am so thankful and grateful that people care so much. You go through a hard time thinking you are alone and it’s never going to stop. People are there to help. You don’t have to feel like the world is crashing down on you. You will have people that care and want to help you. I think that is something that I learned. As hard as it may seem — life experiences beating you down — there is still an uprising from that. You don’t have to give in. It is the rainbow after the storm. People care so much. It shows the community cares. You are not as alone as you think you are.”
The family found a new loft to live in just a couple blocks from their old home. They began moving in less than two weeks ago. Now, Ross said it’s all about getting back to normal. Moving forward to put the tragedy behind them.
“We lost every single thing that we owned,” Ross said. “It was a weird feeling. I can’t explain it. The only thing we had was the clothes on our back. My husband didn’t even have shoes on when we walked outside. When you think of your favorite top or shoes — my kids favorite teddy bear — that stuff isn’t there anymore. It makes you put into perspective the things we place value on.”