When a fire ripped through her family’s West Princeton Avenue home in August 2014, Miranda Abel, 21, was devastated.
It’s a reaction any of us might have if we lost our home, but for Abel, who has a double diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism, the loss of the house was a loss too great to bear.
“She went back into the house after the fire happened, and she had to be removed by the police and someone from the hospital, she was so upset,” said Louisa Abel, 35, Miranda’s sister. “The biggest thing that happened was that she saw the smoke, the flames and the windows being broken. For her, her home is everything.”
Miranda Abel was so upset by the scene that transpired in front of her that she spent five days in the hospital, and is now afraid to leave her parents’ temporary rental home in Point Pleasant.
The Abel family is rebuilding the Brick home, which was declared uninhabitable after the fire produced a great deal of smoke that was sucked into the central air conditioning system and recirculated, damaging the entire structure. Insurance money is helping with that, but all the Abels’ possessions were lost except for a table and some clothes.
In the mean time, a township business has stepped up to held the Abels begin to recover their lives, and provide some comfort to Miranda, who lost her iPad – an important tool for people with autism – as well as her stuffed animal collection in the fire.
Roots Hair Lounge, on Route 88, will host a day of fundraising to help the Abel family on Feb. 8, from 12 noon to 4 p.m. Proceeds from hair cuts, braiding, curling, manicures and pedicures will go toward the family, and the salon will also host a gift auction, face painting and more.
“It’s been a really, really hard experience for them,” Louisa said. “My mother was just getting ready to retire, but the biggest thing is helping my sister.”