A family of seven from Malden, Washington, has suffered immensely over the past few weeks as first their home was destroyed by a wildfire — and then they all contracted the coronavirus.
First, the wildfire
Matthew and Jessica Graham, along with their five children, lost their home and everything in it when a wildfire tore through their small town over Labor Day weekend, KREM-TV reported.
The Grahams were in Idaho visiting Jessica's parents when they received word that a fire had sparked back home. They were notified by a friend that the town library and post office had caught fire and their house was directly in the wildfire's path.
Shortly after, they received the devastating news that their house had been consumed and that nothing was left except, thankfully, the dog and the chickens.
"[The friend] told us that it was a total loss," Matthew said. "It just felt like a bad dream at first," Jessica added.
In all, the fire would destroy 80% of the homes in Malden.
A family of seven lost everything in the Malden fire. Then, they contracted COVID-19 youtu.be
Then, the coronavirus
But the family knew their nightmare was not yet over when they started to feel sick with flu-like symptoms. Later, all seven of them would test positive for COVID-19.
The Grahams believe they first contracted the virus from Jessica's parents and then unknowingly gave it to Matthew's mother, who had stepped in to watch the family's five children for an afternoon.
They told KREM-TV that they also believe they unknowingly infected a family of nine who welcomed them over for dinner one night.
"It's horrible realizing that they reached out to us and have been so welcoming to us, and we spread it to them," Jessica said.
The family is now quarantining in a hotel in Spokane Valley, Washington.
The family all appear to be in good health and recovering from the virus after experiencing symptoms such as fatigue and loss of taste. But they say their search for a new home has been significantly hampered by the infection.
"At this point, we really don't have any plans. All that we have are questions that lead to more questions, and no answers anywhere to be found," Matthew said.
But the family is remaining hopeful. Support from a GoFundMe campaign for the family has certainly helped. So far, more than $20,000 has been raised.
"It's been just amazing, the community outpouring, like people that we barely know or we don't know at all who have reached out and offered to help us, so that part has been amazing just realizing how much support we do have," Jessica said.