“Kindness matters,” community supports family who lost everything in house fire

MARINETTE, Wis. (WFRV) – The Marinette community is stepping up to help a family that lost everything in a fire and a firefighter who was injured in the blaze. 

On Tuesday, firefighters responded to the 1800 block of Wisconsin Street in Marinette for a house fire. Firefighters said residents were able to evacuate the building before they arrived. Local Five News was able to obtain videos from viewers who were there on the day of the fire.

Firefighters said the damage to the building from the fire was so extensive that they had to destroy the entire structure. Friends of the people who live there said they lost everything.

Kewaunee resident Sara Ebben said on Tuesday morning she received a call from her friend who lived at the home that she just had the worst day ever. Ebben said she knew something wasn’t right.

“I was in shock because I never expected that that would happen to any of my close friends,” said Ebben.

She said her first instinct was to figure out ways to help. Ebben has organized a GoFundMe which can be found here. It has already raised more than $1000. She also compiled a list of items that they are looking to get donated to help the family out with basic needs.

“It actually makes my heart really, really happy to see people go out of their way to help people in need, it just shows that there are kind people in this world,” said Ebben.

She said her friend is hanging in there as much as she possibly can given the circumstances.

“You’re not doing anything, just worry about your family and your animals and I’m going to get everything situated for you,” Ebben said she told her friend on Tuesday.

Pamela Weirich said she works as a first responder in Marinette. She said when she saw smoke continue to billow out of the home hours after the call first came in she knew things weren’t good.

She also said she felt compelled to step up and help the people impacted by the fire.

“If they can feel the love of the community of people reaching out and donating items or just praying that’s huge,” said Weirich. “It’s always been in my DNA to help others.”

Right now, she’s collecting shower and bathroom items at her downtown Marinette store which is called Enjoy Gifts and Gathering.

“They always say many hands make light work, I can’t replace their whole house but I can start with one room for them,” said Weirich. “Kindness matters, no matter how big or how little.”

Other local businesses that have organized collection drives for the people impacted by the fire include Biehl Bridges to Recovery and Northlakes Community Clinic. They are looking for clothes, household items, toiletries, and donations of money.

The Marinette Fire Department also told Local Five News they’re feeling the love and support from their community right now.

One of their firefighters was injured in that house fire on Tuesday. That firefighter is currently in a Milwaukee burn unit.

“One of my firefighters heard some dogs barking inside the residence and he took a risk,” said Marinette’s assistant fire chief Steve Campbell. “He tried to save the animals. which he was able to do. In doing so, he did sustain burns from a flashover.”

Campbell said that the firefighter is in good spirits and will have minor surgery soon. He said he’s been overwhelmed by the support the community has shown his department over the last few days.

“That’s a central mark of our community, said Campbell. “It makes it even more of a joy to come to work every single day knowing the community supports us and has our back.”

Firefighters told Local Five News that they are still investigating what caused the fire.