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School Hopes to Get Fire Victims Back on Their Feet

Glenwood Elementary School will collect items and money for the family.

Fast-acting principal Dan Carr of will use his school as a donation center for money and items for a Greenfield family whose belongings and home were destroyed by a fire at 3859 S. 38th St. Friday.

Steve and Erica D’Amato and their two children were not home when the fire started, but the that, “virtually left their family homeless,” Carr said in an email.

“Their insurance company has been working with them to cover things but that takes time.  So, I would like to use Glenwood as a center to receive items or money that would help this family get back on its feet.”

According to Carr, the family has three immediate needs:

  • boys clothing sized 18-24 months and girls size small
  • furniture
  • money or gift cards

“I know we are all going through tough and challenging times, but this situation puts things in perspective for me,” Carr wrote. “Any contribution would be wonderful help for this family when they need help the most.”

The cause of the fire had not yet been determined Saturday, but Battalion Chief Jeff Hohensee said it appeared the fire started in the basement. From there it went through the basement floor and destroyed just about everything on the first floor.

“There was structural damage to a wall on the north side of the building and smoke damage to the entire house,” Hohensee said. “When you see the house from the outside, it doesn’t look like much happened to it. But the whole house would have to be replaced in my mind, and they lost most of their contents.”

Five fire departments responded to the fire, which was under control in about 20 minutes after Greenfield firefighters arrived.

“They got in and found the fire on the first floor and extinguished it and contained it pretty quickly, but there was a fire in the basement that they didn’t know about,” Hohensee said.

According to Hohensee, Steve was at work and the two children were at school. Erica was gone running errands for about an hour and half and returned to smoke coming out of the eaves of the house.

“It was lucky for them the kids were at school and this didn’t happen in the evening hours,” Hohensee said.

The Red Cross, neighbors and family members were on hand to help the D’Amatos right away, according to Hohensee.

One Greenfield firefighter suffered a minor back injury.

Karen March 11, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Would love to help this family. Where is the dropoff for donations/checks...the office at Glenwood School?
David Cotey March 11, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Hey Karen, I'm not exactly sure, but I'm guessing you can call (414-545-2280) or just stop in and someone will be able to help. I'm hoping to get some more details tomorrow.
shannon March 20, 2012 at 03:09 PM
My son and daughter just grew out of the sizes that are needed, i donated them and hope it helps!
David Cotey March 20, 2012 at 03:13 PM
That's great Shannon! I can't imagine what it'd be like to lose everything in a fire, but I'm sure it feels great to know Greenfield has been willing to help!
Erica March 26, 2012 at 01:36 AM
Just wanted to say thank you so much for everyone who donated to our family. It has been a very rough two weeks so far, but words can not say enough how much the community has giving us some hope. When there is so many bad things in the news it is great to know how many nice generous people there are in this city. Thanks again for the time, effort, and generousity. Love D'Amato's
David Cotey March 26, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Hi Erica. Thanks for sharing those nice words with the community. I've had several people ask how they could help, and it seems like most of them (and far more) did! If you're interested, I'd like to do a follow-up on how the family is doing, the school's efforts to help out, and anything else that comes up. Email David.Cotey@patch.com or call 414-248-6620.

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