School helping San Diego teacher whose home was damaged twice in 4 months

Darlene Cooper's home was damaged by flooding and fire within the past four months. (Wokandapix/Pixabay/Wokandapix/Pixabay)
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Darlene Cooper's home was damaged by flooding and fire within the past four months. (Wokandapix/Pixabay/Wokandapix/Pixabay)

School colleagues and neighbors of a California teacher are pitching in to help after the woman’s home was destroyed for the second time in four months.

Darlene Cooper, of San Diego, has taught for 25 years, mostly at Walker Elementary School in the city's Mira Mesa neighborhood, KNSD reported.

Four months ago, Cooper’s condominium was damaged by a flood in her kitchen, the television station reported. Cooper was forced to move into a hotel while her home was repaired.

Several weeks ago, Cooper moved back into her home, only to receive a call Wednesday, while she was teaching a reading lesson to her students, that her home had been damaged by fire, KNSD reported.

“I had just moved in the last couple of weeks, haven’t even really began unpacking, when one day I leave for school and I get a call that my place is on fire,” Cooper told the television station. ”The smoke and the soot and the ashes are throughout the entire unit."

Cooper’s principal at Walker Elementary, Justin Phillips, heard about the fire and decided to act.

"I had just been in her classroom when a staff member approached me, rather urgently that we needed coverage for her because there was an emergency," Phillips told KNSD. "We wanted to come around (for) her. At Walker, we try to be family to one another as much as possible."

Cooper had insurance to cover both disasters, but the school decided to start a GoFundMe account to help with other costs. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but firefighters said it is not suspicious. The school said a goal of $2,500; as of Saturday afternoon, more than $2,100 had been raised.

"It's definitely been a journey," Cooper told KNSD. "It was another shocker, but this time a good one. I just feel incredibly blessed to have so much support and love and compassion surrounding me and I'm just very thankful."

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