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Devastating fire is the latest in list of tragedies for Tuscarawas County family

Family has lost loved ones to murder, an accident and COVID in 3 years
bob jones fire.jpg
Posted at 5:45 PM, Feb 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-22 18:39:17-05

URICHSVILLE, Ohio — A family in Tuscarawas County is picking up the pieces and dealing with yet another tragedy after a devastating fire destroyed their home Saturday morning.

Eight people in Poorman family lived in the house on Rock Road in Rush Township. That includes Tom and Jennifer Poorman, their children and grandchildren. Everyone escaped unharmed, but nearly all of their belongings were lost.

Despite the horrible ordeal, the family is counting their blessings for the quick-thinking of a granddaughter and for the ongoing community support.

With the exception of part of a chimney and a section of a brick wall, nothing is standing at the home. On Wednesday, smoke could still be seen smoldering from the burned debris.

"I lost a lot. I lost all your family heirlooms. Things that mean things to you. My children lost everything," Jennifer said. "It's devastating because it's all gone—all of it— and sometimes you sit and think about the blanket that my grandma made."

Jennifer was at work when the fire broke out around 9 a.m. She believes the cause was electrical.

"They think it started in the garage, something shorted out in the garage," she said.

Everyone else was home, including 6-year-old Zaylee Poorman. According to the family, she spotted smoke and warned an uncle. The family then quickly worked together to ensure everyone got out of the house before it burned.

"She's (Zaylee) a hero. We tell her all the time. She's a hero and she saved everybody," Jennifer said.

The fire is the latest personal tragedy for the family that has endured so much over the last three years.

Jennifer has lost four family members in that time, including, her niece, Ariel Stout, her stepmother, Kathryn Stout, her nephew, Gaven Carlisle, and her sister, Michelle Campbell.

Ariel Sout was killed in a car accident in 2020. A few months later, Kathryn Stout passed away from COVID-19. Carlisle was murdered in New Philadelphia in 2021. Last July, Campbell died from complications during heart surgery.

"I feel like there's like nothing we can't overcome at this point in life. I think we've been hit with every brick that can be thrown at us. It's just hard," said Jessica Fuller, who is Jennifer's stepsister and Carlisle's mother.

On top of that, Jennifer battled thyroid cancer last year, bringing the Poorman's story to a small blessing that amazingly survived the fire.

A hand-written devotional written by Jennifer's late sister, Michelle, was meant to help Jennifer get through cancer treatments in 2022. The devotional was singed but recovered in the rubble.

Part of it reads, "Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you."

"That just means the people we've lost, it's still showing signs that they're with us," Fuller said.

The community in the Urichsville area continues to help the family, providing clothing, money and toys to help them recover. A GoFundMe page has been set up to assist the family of eight. Fuller said they have insurance, but still have deductibles and many other expenses.

In the meantime, the family that has lost so much is still focusing on what they still have.

"It's stressful, but we're blessed. All of our children are alive and safe," Jennifer said.

To donate to the family, click here.

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