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From flames to classroom | Riverside family starts school year after losing home in wildfire

Jason Danner's family lost their home in the Oregon Road fire. Now, he's hoping the start of the school year can bring normality to their lives.

RIVERSIDE, Wash. — Jason Danner spent the beginning of August shopping for school supplies for his two teenagers. That all changed when, on a normal Friday afternoon, his son saw flames outside their home.

“Our driveway was engulfed in flames on both sides," Danner told KREM 2 News

He and his family left with only the clothes on their backs.

"It almost seemed like there was plenty of time, but in reality, there was very little time. I didn't even have a notion of how long it had been—maybe just 10 minutes," he said. 

Danner learned the next day his home was gone in the Oregon Road fire

"We had hopes," he said. "But we were also preparing for the worst while hoping for the best."

For the last few weeks, Danner’s family has looked for a new place to live.

"The timing of the fire couldn't have been worse, especially right before school. We had already gathered some school supplies," he said. 

With school starting, he prioritized sending his kids to school by the first day.

"School has been very beneficial for my kids, providing them with much-needed routine, especially after the panic we experienced," Danner explained. 

Jason Danner’s two kids, Trinity and Mason, say they’re glad they’re back.

"We can get out of the house and do normal things instead of just staying at home," Trinity Danner, a junior at Riverside High School, said.

Her brother Mason is starting his freshman year at the high school.

"I feel a lot better knowing that I have somewhere to be and I'm closer to school. This means I can see my friends," Mason Danner said.

Trinity and Mason are both staying at friends' homes near Riverside. It was a deliberate decision their dad made.

“It’s important my kids stayed close to school, because that’s how normal it was going to get for the next six months," Danner said.

But even through the hard times, the district has had the Danner family’s back.

“Anytime that I've needed to speak with a teacher, the office, they've understood my situation," Danner said.

Jason hopes to find a temporary place soon. He knows even if it's out of district, Riverside will provide transportation. 

 He says he's taking it day by day, and insurance should cover most of the cleanup costs. He even plans to start rebuilding as early as next year.

RELATED: Students, teachers in Riverside School District return for first day of school

RELATED: Fire officials discuss steps for Gray, Oregon Road wildfire cleanup at Riverside High School

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