Couple did not have renters’ insurance

Published 12:52 pm Thursday, April 14, 2011

Account set up at Wells Fargo

Kris Schewe and Beth Sackson, set to be wed in September, had no insurance for the items they owned in the house they rented on Vine Avenue, they said Thursday.

Holly Laite, an Albert Lea resident who is Beth’s older sister, said Beth has written poetry since childhood into notebooks, now burned by the fire.

“My sister is having a really tough time with this,” Laite said.

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Laite said the couple lost a new bed they had recently purchased and were working to pay off. Schewe was able to recover an iPad in good condition, but they lost laptop computers, a desktop computer, pictures, frames, a television, chairs, a couch, tables, clothes, shoes and kitchen appliances.

The couple was renting from his mother, Karen Kral. Kral did have homeowners insurance, so the structure will be covered.

The Albert Lea Fire Department began its investigation Thursday afternoon into the cause of the blaze. Schewe, 31, and Sackson, 30, escaped the fire out of the side window and down a ladder thanks to their neighbors, the Clapper family of 320 Vine Ave.

Laite said the rescue saved their lives. Schewe and Sackson were sleeping upstairs and were just beginning to be affected by carbon monoxide from the flames.

Most of Kral’s belongings were no longer in the home but she did lose some glass decorations and a few other belongings, Laite said. Those were covered by Kral’s insurance.

An account has been set up at Wells Fargo bank in Albert Lea under the Beth Sackson and Kris Schewe Benefit Fund. Anyone wishing to make donations can do so there.

Also, anyone wishing to donate items can drop them off at Laite’s home at 102 Fairview Drive in Albert Lea between the hours of 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. She can be reached at 507-391-4557.

Schewe and Sackson have known each other since school. He graduated from Albert Lea High School in 1998. She graduated from Glenville-Emmons High School in 1999. They reconnected 2 1/2 years ago, Laite said and began dating six months later.

“He was made for my sister. It’s incredible,” Laite said.

Sackson and Laite are no strangers to house fires. They lost their home in a fire in Colorado when Beth Sackson was 1 and Holly Laite was 7. Laite and her family lost her home to a fire on Nov. 25, 2000, on James Avenue in Albert Lea. Five of their cousins perished in a house fire in California in 1978. Another cousin lost everything in a fire in Michigan in 1996.

About Tim Engstrom

Tim Engstrom is the editor of the Albert Lea Tribune. He resides in Albert Lea with his wife, two sons and dog.

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