Community rallies for family after fire

Courtesy Photo Above, from left to right, Fred, Cade, and Blaine Cole are three brothers recently affected by a house fire in Spruce.

SPRUCE — A local family is in need of donations after a fire destroyed their family home and all of their belongings.

Audra Cole and her family away from home on Aug 18 when Audra received a call from the electric company, alerting her to a structure fire at the family residence. They rushed to the home to find it demolished by a blaze that firefighters were struggling to put out.

The home was located on Hubert Road in Spruce. A person on their way home from work happened to drive by the fire and called the police. Firefighters from Lincoln, Ossineke and Alpena showed up to put out the flames that reportedly reignited multiple times.

Audra said the firefighters told her it was one of the worst fires they had seen. It is still unclear what caused the fire, and an investigation is ongoing.

The Cole family was renting the home, with an agreement to eventually purchase it. The family did not have renters insurance, so they will not be able to file a claim to pay for anything that was lost or reclaim any of the money that was put into the home.

“Some things can’t be replaced, like the pictures,” Adura said. “It is just hard.”

“The important thing is that we are all together still, but at the end of the day, you want to go home and there is no more home,” she said.

Audra and her husband, Brandon, have three sons: Blaine, 9, Cade, 8, and Fred, 6. The boys will start school on Monday, and Audra and Brandon have had to return to work so it has been a difficult week for the family. They have been reeling from the loss of the place they have called home for the last three years but have had to keep up with everyday commitments.

Audra said the community has already shown an incredible outpouring of support for their family, and they have been provided with enough school clothes and supplies for the kids. However, they are still in need of items for the family and their pets, which managed to survive the fire.

The children are in need of winter clothes and toys. Blaine wears a size 14 in clothes and a 5-6 in shoes. Cade wears a size 10 slim/10 regular and also a 5-6 in shoes. He is in need of size-5 cleats for football. Fred wears a size 8 in clothes and size 2 in shoes. For now, they have received enough clothes and supplies to start the school year, but they have no winter clothing or outerwear.

Toys are also a much-appreciated donation. The boys enjoy sports, including football, basketball, and soccer. They also like Nerf guns, video games, and any kind of building sets.

Audra and her husband said they also need clothes, basic hygiene items, non-perishable foods, cleaning supplies and any kind of gift cards would be accepted. They are accepting clothes donations including women’s clothes in 3XL for tops, size 22 in pants or XXL leggings, and size 11 shoes. Men’s clothing donations are appreciated in sizes XL, 36/30 in pants and a 10 and a half in shoes.

The family is in need of furniture, including couches, beds, tables, etc.

They also have pets to care for and would happily accept donations of cat food, cat litter, dog food, dog treats, a large dog bed, or dog toys.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for monetary donations. The page was created by Audra’s mother, Pollyanna Price, and can be found by searching Price’s name on the site.

“Thank you to everyone,” Audra said tearfully. “I hope people understand that whether they donated a dollar or $200 or dropped off clothes or towels, it is so appreciated from all of us.”

“It’s nice to see that when it’s needed, it’s there,” Audra said of the amount of the community support they received.

For those who would like to drop off donations, all furniture and non-perishable food items can be taken to 8722 U.S.-23 S. in Ossineke. Family friend Chelsea Gorning will have a white trailer parked outside the address with her local business name, Pristine Clean, on the side of the trailer. They will be collecting all furniture donations and storing them there until the Cole family is ready to receive them. Chelsea can be contacted at 989-464-4400.

The Real Estate One offices in Alpena and Oscoda will also be accepting small or monetary donations. The contact person is Lori Stephans. She can be reached at 989-354-7653.

Kaitlin Ryan can be reached at kryan@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 989-358-5693.