Dawn Rave remembers her seven-year-old daughter screaming, "Mommy, get out. Get out." As thick black smoke choked off the air in their East Street apartment, Dawn sent daughter Shyanne outside, grabbed her purse, and dialed 9-1-1 on her cell phone.
Dawn Rave remembers her seven-year-old daughter screaming, "Mommy, get out. Get out." As thick black smoke choked off the air in their East Street apartment, Dawn sent daughter Shyanne Swartwood outside, grabbed her purse, and dialed 9-1-1 on her cell phone.
She had just enough time to grab a second purse filled with important immunization records for the kids, before racing outside. She'll never forget standing out front with her neighbors as her home burned to the ground.Nor will she ever forget a complete stranger who approached and placed a $100 bill in her hand, saying, "You're going to need this." When she protested that it was too much, he told her to keep it. “I just can’t believe he was that gracious. He was just kind, out of his heart,” Dawn said.
The September 18th fire brings back a lot of bad memories for her three oldest children, Dawn says. It was in 2006, that Billy, Brandon and Justina Rave lost their half brother and sister, two-year-old Dominick and one-year-old Savannah in a tragic fire in Honesdale that claimed the lives of five people. It’s hard to talk about, Justina says. Billy says this latest fire brings back bad memories.
Touched by community
Dawn can't thank the community enough for all that they've done. She was touched when Honesdale Borough Council President Ed Langendoerfer took them to dinner the night of the fire. How the Salvation Army opened their doors to the fire victims, letting them take whatever they needed. How area churches reached out with donations, as did principals and teachers where her children attend school, along with countless family and friends.
She’s grateful to her friend, Mary Cawley, who opened her doors to them for a place to stay. She’s also grateful for her friends and their positive words, telling her it’s a new start for her family and that they’ll come out on top.
“Some days I believe it, some days I don’t. I just, I don’t know, I just get overwhelmed some days. I have good days and bad days,” Dawn says. “It’s getting a little bit better with not thinking about it constantly when I’m trying to sleep. The majority of the time, I have a hard time sleeping, thinking about everything we lost.”
Dawn’s family lost their four, eight month-old kittens that day: Prissy, Lucky 7, Henry and Puss n Boots. “They were good kittens,” say nine-year-old son, Brandon, who was at school at the time of the fire. Shyanne also lost her pet frog, in an aquarium.
Thirteen-year-old, Billy, who lives with his dad, Freedom Rave, feels bad for his family’s loss. Dawn says they’d just spent over $400, painting and remodeling the upstairs’ bedrooms, and buying new Tinkerbell bedding for the girls’ rooms and a new bed set for herself. Oldest daughter, 15-year-old Justina had just moved in with her dad, to attend Wallenpaupack School District.
Numerous family photos were lost and other items of sentimental value, like an antique dresser that belonged to her great grandmother. And Shyanne’s brand new bicycle, destroyed in the fire. And the bike she wanted to buy her son Brandon for his October 8 birthday, that will probably now have to wait. Right now, Dawn’s concentrating her efforts on finding her family a new apartment. Dawn may be reached at 470-6283.