A family of five was left homeless after a fire tore through their home at 4619 DuBois Blvd. in Brookfield on Jan. 16, but friends and neighbors are trying to raise money online to help them through their ordeal.
An online account, which can be found at www.gofundme.com/our-amazing-neighbor had raised $1,620 of the $5,000 goal as of Friday at 1:45 p.m. The money will go to aid the family, which includes a mom and her three children along, the children’s 76-year-old grandfather and a 24-year-old man who police described as a relative.
Firefighters responded to the home at about 5:25 p.m. on Jan. 16 and encountered flames shooting out of a front window of the two-story brick home, said Fire Chief Mark Duffek.
Initial reports indicated that as many as three children were trapped inside a second-floor bedroom, but when police arrived on the scene, they reported that everyone who had been inside, the grandfather and three children, had all safely exited the building.
Paramedics treated the man for minor smoke inhalation, but he refused transport to the hospital. Firefighters were also able to remove several pets from the home, including a dog, cat, snake, lizard, guinea pig and birds. Three birds perished in the fire, Duffek said.
Firefighters were able to knock down the flames within 10 or 15 minutes, said Duffek, and fire damage was contained to a first-floor bedroom at the front of the house. However, the entire house sustained heavy smoke damage and the basement sustained water damage, making it uninhabitable.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated, but Duffek said it started in the first-floor bedroom and appeared to be electrical in nature.
According to the police report of the incident, the grandfather reported that he and three children were on the second-floor of the residence when he heard a loud “boom” that shook the floor. He went downstairs and encountered dark smoke throughout the first floor and noted that the lights were out.
An 11-year-old girl who in a second-floor bedroom told police the “boom” was followed by crackling noises. After seeing flames outside her bedroom window, she yelled that the house was on fire.
Angie Jarka, a neighbor who started the GoFundMe campaign, said she’s known the kids’ grandfather for some time. He serves as a youth enrichment instructor for the Greater LaGrange YMCA, according to David Torres, youth program director for the YMCA.
“He’s such a wonderful guy,” Jarka said. “I’m just heartbroken for them.”
Jarka said the family is staying with relatives or friends at this time. The Red Cross reached out to the Brookfield Fire Department following the blaze to offer its assistance, said Duffek.