Four days after a fire ripped through their home, a couple in Moline is now struggling to find a new place to stay.
Philip Tate and Jessica Houdyshell were at home in their half of the duplex Saturday evening, getting comfortable in the space they had just moved into a few weeks prior. Houdyshell was waiting for a package to arrive, and when she went outside to see if it had arrived, she saw smoke pouring out of the upstairs windows, and ran back inside to tell her fiance Tate that the house was on fire.
“It’s just heartbreaking because I’m like, dang, this was my home,” said Houdyshell. “I was calling it home. We had everything together already.”
Leaving everything they owned inside, all Houdyshell and Tate could do was sit outside, watching the home they worked so hard to find go up in flames for nearly five hours. Tate’s aunt came to comfort him, and he remembers collapsing on her lap in sorrow.
“I laid in her lap and cried,” Tate said. “Because that’s everything in my life I worked for … and it still hurts. I can’t even talk about it much.”
The couple had just moved into their half of the duplex in August, trying to restart their lives, as Houdyshell had just gotten out of prison for a non-violent, non-drug-related crime.
“I was here to rebuild my life,” Houdyshell said.
And if that’s not enough, Houdyshell is pregnant, and Tate frequently struggles with seizures. Tate says he lost his medication and paperwork due to water damage from the fire.
“She tried to let me look at my medicine when she was in there, and it was all full of water,” Tate said.
Now, the two are staying in a hotel, but only for a month, as they desperately search for a new place to live.
“So we’ve got 30 days to kind of find an apartment, it’s just finding a landlord that’s going to work with us,” Houdyshell said.
“All I can do is put it in God’s hands and go day by day,” Tate said.
On a positive note, the couple has been fortunate enough to receive some clothing, food, and toiletries over the past few days through donations from good samaritans in the Quad Cities. Even with all they are going through, they remain thankful.
“I’m grateful for the help,” Houdyshell said. “I’m blessed to get that help because it could have been much worse where we wouldn’t have no help, then we really could have been homeless out in the streets.”
“Just so y’all know, in the world, people that helped us, I appreciate it,” said Tate. “From the bottom of my heart.”
Houdyshell and Tate have set up a GoFundMe page for additional donations.