Huntington Beach

Family Attempts to Start Over After Home Burns Down on 4th of July

Twenty years ago, a flood destroyed their previous home.

The damage from a Fourth of July fire left five families without a home in Huntington Beach, including one couple that has to build up from the bottom for a second time.

The fire occurred around 11:30 p.m. on the 17600 block of Brittney Lane, according to the Huntington Beach Fire Department.

The building where the families live is charred and has now been red-tagged.

One of the families, the Leveens could only watch the fire as they lost everything.

"They were just shooting up into the second story up there," Hal Leveen, a fire victim, says. "And the black cloud was just thick. It was horrible."

Two days later Hal Leveen and his wife, Joan, returned to the damaged condo they called home for 24 years.

Both shared emotions about their losses, especially for the sentimental items that cannot be replaced.

Hal Leveen says, "I stand there saying we had so little. Lord, 'Why did it go?' But you can't think that way. If He closes one door, He opens another, I suppose."

Joan Leveen says, "I take off my wedding ring at night and set it on my dresser. You know, when you have to get out quick you don't think of everything."

She adds optimistically, "Especially losing everything, believe it or not, is like a blessing because you can start over, completely with everything brand new."

Fire fighters say it's possible a firework started this carport fire that quickly spread through the units. The Leveens are getting help from their family, who set up an online fundraiser to help them start over, from nothing.

"We're helping because we're family, but you know, when they need everything there's only so much you can do," Dennis Smith, the victim's son-in-law, said.

However, this is the second time this couple has had to start over.

Twenty years ago, a flood destroyed their previous home.

So, they say that they will start over again.

The official cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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