Community Rallies Around Family After House Fire Tragedy

Evidence of the recent fire on Easy Street is visible from the road. This Howell home was severely damaged last month by a fire that started by a household dryer. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)

  HOWELL – From the roadside on Easy Street, the scene speaks volumes of a recent ordeal. Two windows are boarded up on the pale-yellow house – and the front door is covered in black soot.

A fire was in full blast at the home on January 21 at 6:20 p.m. with flames sweeping through the house and ravaging through the kitchen and the dining area. The fire also destroyed parts of the living room, with smoke damage overtaking the rest of the occupants’ possessions.

  “I am personally not sure if it was because of something wrong with the dryer or the gas connected to it,” said Aurelio Flores, who rented the home from his employer. “I did hear a small explosion but do not know what the investigation revealed.”

  When firefighters from the Ramtown Fire Department arrived at the scene, flames were visible, and heavy smoke emanated from the front door. Fortunately, no one was inside, and the fire was extinguished swiftly.

  Additional fire departments provided support due to the absence of hydrants on Easy Street. Crews concluded their operations by 9:40 p.m., and an investigation into the fire’s cause was initiated by the Howell Township Fire Bureau.

  No injuries arose from the structure fire, which was extinguished as a result of efforts made by the local fire department and an n additional Engine and Ladder from the Southard Fire Department, a RIT team from South Wall Fire Rescue, and Herbertsville Fire Company and Lauralton Fire Company.

  The Adelphia Fire Company brought in their tanker because of the lack of hydrants on Easy Street.

The Flores family has called the Easy Street address across from Puglisi Egg Farms their home for the last seven years. They are now displaced and living with extended family, as detailed by Andrea Flores, who set up a GoFundMe account seeking help for her parents and siblings.

  “Our household includes my parents; my dad works at Puglisi Egg Farms, and my mom stays at home currently,” shared Andrea, a Brookdale Community College student. “I have two siblings, my brother, and sister, 13 & 12, who are both students at Howell Middle School South; most of their clothes were burnt as it was their clothes in the dryer.”

Photo courtesy GoFundMe

  “We also have two dogs, Muñeca and Toby, who are without food, toys and beds,” she added. “As of now, we are currently displaced, staying with family in the meantime as we find a new home.”

  Andrea added that it was extremely devastating to see a house filled with memories gone in one night. It is her understanding that the house is beyond repair and will be demolished.

The GoFund goal of $15,000 has almost been reached, with nearly 300 people offering their help. However, that money will go by quickly as the family attempts to regain their lives.

  Donations are being accepted to assist with food, new appliances, rent, clothes, and pet necessities. The family appears to be well known in the local community, with many residents offering their help as far as clothes and household necessities. One former Howell resident has even offered to set up his recreational vehicle on the property to give the family a temporary place to live.

  At present, the Flores family has no means of storing any physical items people have offered to them. They are currently in search of a new rental home to get their lives somewhat back to normal.

  “It’s been hard to get back to people,” Andrea said. “I am in college and juggling that while trying to help my parents with everything that needs to be done. We are all so grateful for everything that has been given to us either financially or offered as far as physical donations.”

  Andrea emphasized, “I don’t want anyone to think I don’t intend to reply to them. It’s just all so overwhelming.”

  Those interested in helping the Flores family after their tremendous loss can do so by contributing to the GoFundMe foundat