WHITE PIGEON, Mich. — News of the fatal house fire Tuesday morning shook the community, Andrew Morris said. Eleven people were living in that home on Chicago Road when it caught fire at 3 a.m. Nine survived. Two did not, including one little boy.
“The child that lost his life [was] 7 and I have one at 7 as well,” said Andrew Morris while holding his youngest son, 4-year-old Ryder. “It’s definitely very heartbreaking.”
The other person who died was a 36-year-old pregnant mother, said the White Pigeon Fire Department in a statement. The fire chief said Tuesday that the two victims were found upstairs in the home. As for the survivors, they were treated and released from a local hospital.
“I’m sure they’re more sad than anybody,” said Morris who owns Morris Motorsports on US-12 and Sevison Road . “We’re all sad as well especially as a community.”
Morris said when he heard about what happened he knew he had to help. So and his wife Kaitlyn decided to take 35 percent of their sales and donate it to the family. They also posted online that they’re taking donations for the family.
“Toys, there’s a lot of toys,” Morris said. “There’s blankets, pillows, a lot of hygiene stuff. I think probably the most thing that we need is some blankets.”
Over a dozen boxes and bags — filled with clothing, shoes, pillows and toys — were stacked along the wall of their garage. Morris and Kaitlyn spent time sorting through the donations, placing DVDs, laundry detergent and candy canes into separate boxes. Morris said the outpouring of goods did not shock him.
“Being a small community definitely helps quite a bit as we’ve done some stuff for people who lost a lot in the fires down in South and the hurricane,” Morris said. “We filled just for the hurricanes in Texas we filled three semi trailers here.”
Now the focus is on doing it for the family who lost two loved ones locally he said. They’re accepting gift cards as well, which they family told him was best. The Morrises are going to drop everything off to them on Friday. Whatever comes after that, they'll give to them just before Christmas.
“It definitely stinks that it happens during the holidays,” Morris said. “I wish it wouldn’t happen again. I wish it wouldn’t happen at all to no one but especially during the holidays. This is a tragic time.”