Christmas fire leaves Tiyan family homeless

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All that remains now are charred belongings and the smell of soot in the air surrounding the home.
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It’s like the Grinch stole Christmas, says Barrigada Mayor June Blas who spoke with PNC about a family still reeling from a fire that broke out in their home on Christmas Day.

Sammi Machie and her family lived in the upstairs unit of a home on East Sunset Blvd in Tiyan. While Christmas Day was filled with presents for her children, those presents and almost all of their belongings were lost late Christmas night in a fire.

Mayor Blas visited the family this morning and shares with PNC details of the Christmas blaze.

“I received the call about 10:15 at night. It was one of the airport police that called me and kind of told me what was going on there. And of course, at the same time, my phone was trying to ring in from Homeland to let me know from the 911 center but the vice mayor was answering that call and that we know that there was a fire on 825 East Sunset boulevard,: Blas said.

According to the mayor, the family of 11 was outside when the fire occurred, adding that a candle lit in the upstairs unit may have caused the fire.

Blas says the fire was contained to the unit where the family lived. All that remains now are charred belongings and the smell of soot in the air surrounding the home.

“We are aware of the family that lives there and of course they have been living there for many years. There was no power there that we know of but there was water. They lived there with the mom and dad and of course the children,” Blas said.

PNC visited the home where the fire occurred and spoke with Machie who says she is still in shock and trying to pick up the pieces for her four children — three girls aged 16, 12 and 7 and an 11-year-old boy.

While Machie expressed gratitude for the assistance they have received from the American Red Cross and island residents, Mayor Blas says the family is still in need of help.

“We’re trying to reach out to the residents or to anyone that wants to donate … they can drop their donations to us and we can always give it to the family. Anything will be appreciated … even pots, pans, or even non-perishable food items. We will accept all to give to the family,” the mayor said.

Despite losing almost everything, Machie told PNC that she is thankful that none of her family members were hurt in the fire.

If you would like to donate to the family you can contact the Barrigada Mayor’s office at 734-3859.

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.