Volunteers help family displaced by house fire

Volunteers help clean up after a fire on Meadowlane Drive in Kentwood. (Dec. 20, 2014)

KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — Community members gathered Saturday morning to help a Kentwood family whose home was destroyed in a fire last week.

Firefighters work to extinguish huge flames at a Kentwood home. (Courtesy: Kentwood Fire Dept./Dec. 11, 2014)
(Firefighters fight the blaze. Courtesy: Kentwood Fire Department.)

On the afternoon of Dec. 11, a fire ripped through the home on Meadowlane Drive SE, killing a cat and displacing a family of four. The fire is believed to have started in the basement, but the damage caused by the fire was so extreme that firefighters couldn’t determine the exact cause.

Tricia Gleason, her fiancé and her two teenage daughters were left with nearly nothing. Only a few baby books and family photos survived the fire.

The house was a total loss. Gleason didn’t have homeowner’s insurance.

“It’s been a roller coaster of emotions, from grief to sadness to why?” Gleason said.

When word spread that Gleason needed help with cleanup and salvaging, volunteers stepped up. Among them were the members of the East Kentwood High School football team. Players took time out of their weekend to grab shovels, rakes and gloves and help Gleason’s family pick up the pieces.

Volunteers help clean up after a fire on Meadowlane Drive in Kentwood. (Dec. 20, 2014)
(Volunteers help clean up after the fire.)

“They’re doing a good job,” Coach Tony Kimbrough said. “It doesn’t surprise me. That’s the type of kids we have at East Kentwood High School to come out and lend a hand. It’s about the community. It’s about helping others.”

With the help of the team and others in the neighborhood, workers Saturday made quick work of charred rubble and remains.

“We are so blessed and just so grateful for everyone that has been here to help us either financially, emotionally, in prayer,” Gleason said. “Whatever our needs have been, they have been met with grace and compassion and we couldn’t be happier to be part of a community that is so… I can’t even find the words.”

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