Thieves pick through charred remains after woman loses everything in house fire

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KTVI) – Thelma Askew lost her home in a December 23 fire. She was renting to own a home in the Castle Point neighborhood in north St. Louis County.

Askew said the fire started because she was trying to heat her home with her oven after a scheduled heating system repair did not take place. Smoke alarms went off, giving Askew enough time to escape.

“When I came out of the house, all I had on was a t-shirt and a pair of underpants,” she said.

She’s grateful for help she’s received from the Salvation Army, American Red Cross, and Woodard Restoration, but is having a difficult time getting back on her feet.

“I don’t know what to do,” Askew said. “Everything is gone.”

She said someone has since stolen some of the charred possessions left at her home.

“Who would want that?” asked Askew. “You know, you’ll get ill. You’ll get sick from it. It’s terrible somebody went in there and stole.”

Askew’s 19-year-old son was not home at the time of the fire. She just wants a place to call home. She wants a kitchen where she can cook and a yard where she can plant flowers.

Anyone wanting to help can contact Dave Schneider at Woodard Restoration by calling 314-568-1636. Askew can be reached at 314-368-6293.