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Electrical problem forces troubled family from home

ST. PETERSBURG — The family of a boy injured by a falling speaker at BayWalk last year endured more hardship Friday night: An electrical problem forced them out of their home.

The American Red Cross was helping the family of Josiah Wineberger find shelter for a couple of days, but family members are worried about the long term. Not only is their rental home now uninhabitable, but it also has been foreclosed upon and is for sale.

"We can't win for losing right now," John Wineberger, the boy's father, said Friday night as he stood before the house ringed with darkened icicle Christmas lights. "Basically, we don't have a place to live."

Josiah, now 5, was badly hurt in 2007 when a speaker fell on his head at BayWalk in downtown St. Petersburg.

John Wineberger, 37, who stays at home to care for his son, said Josiah will need therapy for the rest of his life. The Winebergers have a pending negligence lawsuit against BayWalk.

The family's trouble worsened Friday evening, when the lights in the house started dimming. Just before 8 p.m., Wineberger heard Josiah crying. The boy was pointing to a smoking TV.

The family called the Fire Department, which looked at the electrical system and called Progress Energy. The company said the wiring was so old that it had to cut the power to the house.

"It could burn down in the middle of the night," said St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue Lt. Joel Granata.

The problems displaced Wineberger, his wife, Zenaida, 29, their children — Michael, 13, Emma, 7, Josiah, 5, and Jacob, 2 — and their chihuahua, Chico.

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Stephanie Garry can be reached at (727) 892-2374 or sgarry@sptimes.com.

If you can help

Donations can be made to the Josiah Wineberger Contribution Fund at any branch of Mercantile Bank.

Electrical problem forces troubled family from home 12/26/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 3:30pm]
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