Arson leaves family struggling but gratefulWhile Superior police search for a suspect in Sunday’s arson fire, Denise Ojeda and her children are dealing with the aftermath.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
While Superior police search for a suspect in Sunday’s arson fire, Denise Ojeda and her children are dealing with the aftermath.
The morning garage fire at 412 Cumming Ave., caused an estimated $15,000 in damage. Although Superior Fire Department crews saved the exterior of the structure, its contents were a total loss. That included the family’s van, bikes and lawnmower.
“This whole week’s been crazy,” said Ojeda, who rents the home. The family only had liability insurance on the van, and no renter’s insurance. So Ojeda revived an old car that she’d been planning to scrap. The car, which brought the family to Superior from Arizona, had been “dead” for two years. A mechanic got it running, but not without some tradeoffs. The heater doesn’t work and a gas smell wafts through the vents.
“We drive with the windows open so we can breathe,” Ojeda said, but “It gets us from point A to point B.”
With one child attending Superior Middle School and another at Superior High School, as well as a job in Duluth, transportation is critical for Ojeda.
“It’s huge,” she said. And the little things sometimes catch the family unaware. Like Ojeda’s winter gear, which she left in the van.
“I didn’t expect to buy myself a new coat,” she said. But she did, along with some mittens. The Superior woman said she hopes the fire won’t dampen Christmas for the kids.
“They’re wonderful,” she said, and don’t even mind hanging their heads out of the car windows.
Jan Provost of Superior has known Ojeda since she moved to the area from Arizona.
“She is such a wonderful caring person and a wonderful mother,” Provost said. “Even though she struggled financially like many young parents do today, she finds time to care for the less fortunate in our community. She’s a wonderful example for her children.”
Investigators with the Superior Fire Department have labeled the blaze an arson fire, but no suspects have been identified.
Ojeda said it must have occurred between the time her neighbor left at 5:30 a.m. and the time it was reported, 8:20 a.m.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Superior Police at 715-395-7234 or 911.
Bikes and the lawnmower that were lost won’t be a big issue to the family until spring. But Ojeda’s efforts to find transportation help have so far been fruitless. She remains in search of a spare vehicle that’s reliable, warm and seats at least three. Still, they have a home to live in and each other.
Dave Johnson, a fire inspector with the Superior Fire Department, put it all into perspective following the fire: “He said ‘I know you lost the van, but for us it was a good day. You’re still here,’” Ojeda said.