Donation Website Set-up After A Destructive Fire Leaves 73-Year Old Disabled Veteran Burned & Couple Homeless

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Disabled Veteran severely burned in house fire now has a donation website set-up to help him and his wife rebuild their lives. Amazingly something did survive. That was his Marine Dress Blues, a military uniform that hung in his closet among the many other clothing articles that were destroyed.

Beverly Brasen awoke when she heard her 73-year-old husband, Richard Brasen screaming her name. Immediately she headed down the hall to his room. There she saw the flames and her husband in his bed with his wheelchair next to him.

Beverly recalls: "Everything was aflame. The bedside table, the wall, his bed, the wheelchair, [and] the curtains were all on fire. That's all I could see when I was trying to get him out."

Beverly tried desperately to keep the fire from burning her husband, but she was unable to get him out of the room by herself. Not strong enough to lift him, Beverly resorted to running back and forth with pots of water that she could pour over her husband's body.

Ultimately it was the San Bernardino County firefighters who carried his handicapped and now burnt body out of the blaze. Richard Brasen's body was severely burned over approx. 50 percent of his body with second and third stage burns. Having undergone 2 skin graph surgeries and recently being released from the hospital is primarily confined to a hospital bed but is somewhat mobile with assistance.

Doctors at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center call Mr. Brasen a miracle patient. "They said that I am lucky to be alive, with all these burns at my age I shouldn't have made it," explains Richard Brasen. Emotionally traumatized, unable to sleep or eat Mr. Brasen's recovery is slow and difficult. Some of the burns seem to be healing well per Doctors statements while Brasen may have to endure more skin graph surgeries to repair the other burn damage.

Beverly Brasen was also hospitalized that Sunday night and released a few days later on Wednesday June 24th. She is having residual heart and lung issues due to severe smoke inhalation from the fire as well as the stress of rebuilding their home and life.

The couple had lived in their Balsam Road home for over 10 years. Fire officials said the cause of the fire is still under investigation. The Brasen Family originally suspected the cause to be Richard's new electric hospital bed, but the bed was not plugged in, nor was his wheelchair charger at the time of the fire. Speculation is that the origin of the fire may have been an issue with the electric wiring in the house; final reports from the fire investigator are still pending.

Beverly Brasen watched helplessly as the Firefighters brought her husband out and rescued their three dogs. It wasn't until the next morning that with the help of their daughters Deborah and Paula that the firefighters were made aware that there were 3 cats that remained in the house after the fire. Paula and her husband went back into the house now tagged unsafe to occupy and found two cats hiding beneath the couch and a third cowering in a back closet all scared, but safe.

The fire did not leave much behind. Flames destroyed Richard's hospital bed, wheelchair, crutches, and other medical supplies, along with most of the couple's clothing. Also destroyed was Richard's extensive DVD, music collection and books he used to occupy his time on a day to day basis from his hospital bed.

Amazingly something did survive. That was his Marine Dress Blues, a military uniform that hung in his closet among the many other clothing articles that were destroyed.

"It's sad this story did not get much coverage," explains family friend Karen Oliver, "As soon after that Michael Jackson's death covered the air waves. Knowing the great support out there by veterans and family of disabled veteran's, I would think there is support out there in the community to help us get this family back on their feet if they knew about this devastating fire."

"My mother and stepfather are elderly and due to the damage sustained to the house they were living in will be unable to live there," said Brasen's step-daughter, Paula Smith, in a myspace blog.

Since the fire, Beverly has moved into a house where she and her husband can stay for 3 months but most of her household items and furniture that was saved from the old house cannot be moved into the new house due to smoke/water damage. "The expense of renting a storage container, people helping move anything salvageable into it and then into the new temporary housing, has taken its toll on my mom and stepdad," Says Sandi Taylor the Brasen's youngest daughter. "My teenage nephew spent almost a month on a cot in the living room of my sister's house letting my mom have his room during her housing search." Beverly and Richard are still desperately looking to find a three-bedroom, two-bath house that allows pets that the couple can move into.

"Watching the devastation of my mother and stepfather losing almost everything they have, seeing them struggling to replace things that most of us take for granted is difficult when there is little I can do alone to help them which is why I set up the Brasen Fire Fund website " Sandi Taylor explained, "Every little bit helps, even a few dollars means a lot to those who are starting at ground zero."

Anyone can donate through the fund that the Brasen's youngest daughter, Sandi Taylor, has set-up by either by making a donations at any Chase Bank nationwide. Be sure to provide the account number which is 344-3890228, as not all branches across the country may be able to access the account by name; or by making a donation online via paypal, credit card or bank transfer at


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