‘It’s mine and that’s important’: Malden woman moves into newly built home with free furniture

MALDEN, Wash. – A town full of burned homes and debris is now getting a ray of hope. Six months after a devastating wildfire, Malden is building new homes.

The town was destroyed by a fire in September, leaving many without a roof over their heads. They waited months for federal disaster aid.

“There’s no words that could explain what was going through my head,” said Lori Dickson, a Malden resident.

She was at a loss of words six months ago. A majority of families lost their homes that devastating day.

“You didn’t know… where am I going to live, how am I going to support things,” she said.

That day, she lost everything. She was out of town when the fire happened, but when she came back, it was all gone.

“They all perished in the fire. Everything,” she said.

On Friday, though, she gained some new things, including a new home.

Dickinson was one of the first few people in Malden to be chosen to get a brand new home. A group called the Western Anabaptist Missionary decided to help Malden rebuild. So, they built her home in three weeks.

“To have this home built for me was a blessing,” Dickinson said.

It’s been a blessing for Dickinson, after she spent half a year in uncertainty. She’s been living with her daughter in Spokane while waiting to figure out what to do.

Not only did she get a new home, she got some new furniture, for free, thanks to Spokane furniture store 16 Cents, 3 Shoes and 5 Socks. The owner gave her $5,000 to spend as she pleased.

“It was, ooh, there’s no words to explain how that made me feel, too. When you got to choose whatever you wanted, whatever you wanted,” she said squealing.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: ‘The entire town is gone’; Malden devastated by wildfires, most homes destroyed

Jason McSteen, the owner of the furniture store, said he felt compelled to help Lori after her daughter emailed the store. They had asked for some help.

He decided to go to Malden himself to see what the devastation was like. Then, he decided to give her thousands of dollars worth of furniture and other home furnishings.

“Her mission daily is to help others, even when she didn’t have a home of her own. She still was helping this community and running the food bank,” McSteen said. “Those are the types of people we want to help when they need help.”

Dickinson received two new beds, couches, a small dining set and more to fill out her brand new home.

“There’s no words I can explain how I feel right now,” she said.

She was at a loss for words half a year ago, heartbroken by what happened. But, on Friday, those words escaped her as she cried out of happiness and disbelief that she finally had a new place to call home.

As for rebuilding the rest of the town, the missionary group did build another home aside from Dickinson’s. Mayor Dan Harwood says they’re working with the group, hoping to build some more homes in the near future.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: ‘We’re not going anywhere’: Malden’s on the path to rebuilding with disaster declaration