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Family who lost home in weekend fire is grateful for Lodi’s generosity

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Posted: Friday, November 16, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 7:08 am, Fri Nov 16, 2012.

Joanna and Juan Ruiz are grateful to generous Lodi-area residents who say they want to donate furniture, clothing and cash, after the home the Ruizes rented in southwest Lodi was destroyed by fire.

"I appreciate everything people are doing," Joanna Ruiz said on Thursday morning.

The Ruizes were at a family reunion in Lathrop on Saturday night when their house off Lower Sacramento Road caught fire and was destroyed.

The good news for the family is that they will be able to move into an apartment on Harney Lane, probably during the weekend. They're staying this week with Juan Ruiz's sister, who lives across the street from the home that burned down.

Meanwhile, the News-Sentinel has received several emails and phone calls from generous residents who say they want to contribute money or supplies to the Ruiz family.

"There is so much goodness," Joanna Ruiz said Thursday. "There are angels from heaven that are helping us — the love, the help, the prayers."

The American Red Cross, which responds to disasters like structure fires, arranged for the Ruizes and their 5-year-old son to stay in a motel for three days. The Red Cross also gave them a credit card so they can buy some clothes and blankets.

Meanwhile, a Bible study group consisting of 12 women agreed to make a cash donation. Kathy Rathbun, a member of the Bible study group, said she also got an anonymous donation of an oak kitchen table with four chairs and a recliner. The Ruizes can have the furniture if they want it, Rathbun said.

Additionally, the staff at Ellerth Larson Elementary School, where their son, Ryan, attends kindergarten, and Ebenezer Congregational Church are helping the Ruiz family with supplies, Joanna Ruiz said.

Saturday's fire took place at about 8:15 p.m. The house sustained so much damage that the contents were destroyed, and the Ruizes don't have rental insurance.

Battalion Chief Ron Penix said on Sunday that the damage was so extensive that they may never be able to determine what caused the blaze. An update on the investigation wasn't available Thursday.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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