Family looks for help after belongings burn in Lake County

Keri Walker says her items were in the old Shell Shack at the time of the fire

A Fruitland Park family loses their belongings in a fire.

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – A mother and her children are looking for a Christmas miracle after their belongings were burned in a fire this past Tuesday.

The Shell Shack, or the Sea-Shell House, located off of U.S. 27 near the edge of Fruitland Park, burned down earlier this week.

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“So, we’re pretty much homeless, and all we have is our mattresses and some clothes,” said Keri Walker, who told News 6 she was storing her family’s furniture at the Shell Shack.

The fire is still under investigation, but the Shell Shack is now condemned.

Before the blaze, Walker and her three children were receiving help from the caretaker of the Shell Shack, Walker said.

Walker was only storing her items in the building after the home she was renting went up for sale, Walker said.

“The property I was monitoring or living in was sold, and the people wanted to close, so I had to vacate the premises,” Walker told News 6.

Amongst the rubble of the Shell Shack, Walker said she can replace the furniture. It’s the memories that have been lost forever.

“It’s not the washer, the dryer (or) the refrigerator that (count),” Walker said. “It’s my children’s teeth, it’s their umbilical cords, their baby pictures, their baby blankies -- it’s stuff like this that I can’t get back.”

Now, Walker said, she has nowhere to go.

But despite not having much for the holidays, Walker said she will remain strong.

“I’m all they have,” she said of her kids. “And if I don’t keep going, then they’re going to see, you know, when something happens (that’s) devastating to them, to just give up, and that’s just not what God has planned.”

Walker said for the time being, she and her children are taken care of -- for a limited time.

She will be looking at different fundraising opportunities to replace her furniture.

If anyone would like to help the family, here’s an email address Walker provided.

About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.