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Community rallies around family after fire destroys their home days before Christmas

Published: Dec. 23, 2021 at 8:27 PM CST
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FORT BRANCH, Ind. (WFIE) - New information has been released on the fire that destroyed a home in Gibson County on Tuesday morning.

Officials say the fire that broke out along North Railroad Street was electrical in nature.

[PREVIOUS: Home destroyed after Fort Branch fire]

The people inside, along with a dog and a cat, were able to get out unharmed, but officials say three cats and a rabbit died in the fire.

All of this comes just days away from Christmas. The family didn’t want to go on camera, but their situation was moving. Deputies decided to come together and hold a fundraiser so the family has some presents to open.

Deputy Jennifer Robb responds to tragedies often, but this one, she says, was different.

“After looking through the front door and seeing their Christmas tree burnt and full of smoke, and their Christmas ornaments they’ve collected over the years, it just bothered me,” Robb said. “It made me realize all the stuff I have in my life I should be thankful for.”

Robb and fellow Deputy Jennifer Loesch organized the fundraiser to help revive the family’s Christmas spirit. People have donated through Venmo, cash, checks and gifts.

“We’ve raised close to $1,300 dollars just like that, and it’s not like we’ve been out knocking on doors, people have just done it,” Loesch said. “It’s amazing, especially this time of year with Christmas, people are just giving without thinking.”

“I think they were in shock,” Robb said. “I don’t think they were expecting such support from the community and everyone around them. Mom and dad cried, grandma and grandpa cried, and I think I tried not to cry.”

Deputies say some of the money will go toward helping replace what was lost in the fire.

“We see people’s worst days,” Robb said. “If we can do something to at least make something that’s turned tragic into something a little nice, we want to do that.”

Deputies are still taking donations for the family, and for their Cops for Kids program, where they go Christmas shopping for kids in need.

Here are ways you can donate:

  • Drop checks, cash, or gifts directly to the Gibson County Sheriff’s Office
  • Venmo the area Fraternal Order of Police @fop115 and specify you’d like your donation to go to the house fire family.

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