Mira Mesa

Mira Mesa Teacher's Home Destroyed Twice in Four Months

Just as she was getting settled in her condo after a flood forced her to stay in a hotel, a fire destroyed her home once again

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Support is pouring in for a local teacher, after her home was destroyed not once, but twice, in four months.

Darlene Cooper has been a teacher for 25 years, and most of those years have been at Walker Elementary School in Mira Mesa.

When her colleagues found out her home was destroyed twice – first by flood, then by fire -- in just the past few months, they decided to help.

"It's definitely been a journey," Cooper said.

That unexpected and difficult journey started four months ago at her Mira Mesa condo.

"There was a flood in my kitchen,” she explained. The home disaster left her in a hotel while repairs were made. Luckily, her insurance paid for the repairs and her temporary home.

"I had just moved in the last couple of weeks, haven't even really began unpacking when one day I leave for school and I get a call that my place is on fire,” Cooper recalled.

When she got the call she didn’t realize how bad the damage would be.

"The smoke and the soot and the ashes are throughout the entire unit,” she said.

Cooper's principal at Walker Elementary, Justin Phillips, heard right away something was going on.

"I had just been in her classroom when a staff member approached me, rather urgently that we needed coverage for her because there was an emergency," Phillips said.

Hearing Cooper had to move into a hotel again and won't be in her home for the holidays pushed the school staff to do something nice for her.

"We wanted to come around her. At Walker we try to be family to one another as much as possible," the principal said.

Even though cooper has fire insurance, the school decided to start a GoFundMe account to help with all the extra costs that spring up from a catastrophic event.

"It was another shocker, but this time a good one. I just feel incredibly blessed to have so much support and love and compassion surrounding me and I'm just very thankful,” Cooper said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but firefighters say it is not suspicious. The next step is for investigators from the insurance company to figure out what started it.

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