23ºF

Detroit family finalizing home purchase loses house in fire

Jennifer Robinson went from scam victim to homeowner, almost

DETROIT – Jennifer Robinson has lived in the same home for two years, but recently, she started getting suspicious of her landlord.

“He was charging me more rent,” Robinson said Sunday. “And I’m like, ‘We don’t even have a furnace.’”

When Robinson called the city, she found out she had been living in a land bank home. She was being scammed. So Robinson entered the city’s buy-back program, and by last Wednesday, she was nearing the end of a process to buy her home for $1,000.

After the inspection and the good-news email from the city, the Robinson family went to a Holiday Inn for the night to escape the cold temperatures.

A few hours later, she received a call from a neighbor.

“He called me and said my house was on fire,” Robinson said. “I ran up and saw the smoke and thought it was a back bedroom.”

The fire gutted the upstairs.

“When I saw it, the whole roof above my bed (was) gone,” said Israel Mills, Robinson’s daughter. “But it may be a blessing because we would've been trapped.”

Robinson had just finished Christmas shopping, and had been working to furnish the house.

"Friday, I had two beds delivered (and a) dining room set,” Robinson said. “And then the house burned up."

Now, Robinson -- a single mother who has always found a way to stay strong while caring for her two kids and a grandson -- said she suddenly doesn't know where to turn.

“It's just really hard because I can't help my mom,” Mills said.

The situation is up in the air. The family members aren’t sure where they’ll be for Christmas.

“Even though we were going without everything, I always told my kids there's somebody who's cold out (of) the house,” Robinson said.

She prays the family will be able to live at the home again soon, but it might take a miracle.
 
Robinson said she thinks the fire started in a faulty electrical box, but firefighters are still investigating.

You can help

The family has set up a GoFundMe for anyone who would like to help them.


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