The fire took place late at night on December 26th. Kathy and Kenny were asleep in the upper floor of the home and their parents and older brother were asleep on the main floor. The older brother was a special needs man, wheel chair bound and was blind. It was an electrical fire that began in the older brothers room under his bed. Their mom tried to help him but was overcome with heat and smoke. She told the father to wake Kenny and Kathy and he did by hollering up the stairs. He then returned to the older brother and was overtaken by smoke. Kenny and Kathy escaped through an upper bedroom window and remained on a rooftop until the fire department arrived.
Both parents are currently in the burn unit at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan. They have been there since December 26th, 2013. Both are unconscious as the mother has undergone skin grafting and the father is on a breathing machine. For a brief period they woke the mother so she could sign over power of attorney to Kathy. Furthermore, Kathy is planning the funeral of the older brother. Suffice it to say she has way more on her plate than any young adult should have to deal with.
Kathy is currently living in a hotel in Battle Creek and travels back and forth each day to Kalamazoo to be with her parents. Kenny is staying with an aunt in Union City, Michigan. Needless to say, they have lost everything and are relying on the help of family and friends.
As for needs, anything and everything would help. They had insurance on the house and contents and the insurance company is paying for Kathy to stay in a hotel. While insurance will help out, we all know how long it can take for claims to be processed. In the meantime they are in need of clothing, transportation assistance, food, and basically all necessary living requirements.
Kenny and Kathy are slated to graduate in June and that too can be expensive for one student not to mention twins.
This tragedy is heartbreaking and I hope we can make a difference for these people. Remember to hug those you love tonight when you get home and always count your blessings.
- Jannea Long
- Brian Demlow
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