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December 27, 2012

Fraser family displaced by fire

By Nico Rubello
C & G Staff Writer

The community recently rallied in support of a family of six who were displaced after a fire that claimed their Fraser home two days before Christmas.

After news of the fire spread, family and others from the Fraser community began donating gift cards, clothes, toys and other items to the Tate family, who were not home at the time of the fire. And while no one was injured, the fire claimed nearly everything they owned, including Christmas presents, family photos, mementos, furniture and clothes.

Demetrius Tate said it was a “total loss.” He and his wife, Charmaine, and four children — a 17-year-old girl, 12-year-old boy, 11-year-old girl and 7-year-old girl — have been staying at a Warren hotel in the meantime.

Firefighters responded to the two-story home around 3:50 a.m. Dec. 23, finding flames coming from the roof, according to a statement from the Fraser Department of Public Safety. The roof and second story collapsed shortly after firefighters’ arrival.

Firefighters had the blaze extinguished within an hour, and there was no damage to the neighboring houses, the statement said. What was left of the home was unstable, so a backhoe pulled the rest of it down.

Demetrius Tate, who was at a friend’s birthday party nearby, said he noticed smoke and flashing lights when he went to a nearby store that morning. He walked toward his block and discovered fire trucks in front of his house.

“I was in shock,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

All of the family members, including their pet dog, were elsewhere at the time. The family had insurance on the home.

“I’d like to thank everybody for responding and standing behind us and showing goodwill,” Demetrius Tate said. “They helped out a whole lot, more than what I would have expected.”

Investigators were still looking into the cause as of press time on Dec. 26.

Neighbor Jamie Kolleth set up a Facebook page — www.facebook.com/HelpingTheTates — and PayPal account to help collect donations for the family. She has been collecting items on behalf of the family and dropping them off.

“We just really felt for them,” Kolleth said. “We have young kids too, and I just can’t imagine.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Nico Rubello at nrubello@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1118.