Brookston family homeless after fireA fire destroyed a mobile home on Pine Drive near Brookston Wednesday, leaving a mom, grandmother and 8-year-old boy with little but the clothes on their backs.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
A fire destroyed a mobile home on Pine Drive near Brookston Wednesday, leaving a mom, grandmother and 8-year-old boy with little but the clothes on their backs.
Tanya Reynolds, who lived in the home with her mother, Brenda Abramowski, 55, and son, Dylan Morneau, 8, said they were preparing a birthday dinner for her mom Wednesday when something near the stove must have caught on fire.
“We figure it was either grease or a towel that caught fire,” Reynolds said, explaining that there were three adults in the home when the fire started. “It’s an older trailer, and [the fire] hit the ceiling and went so fast we couldn’t put it out.”
Multiple fire departments – including Cloquet Area Fire District – responded to the fire in rural St. Louis County, as did Joel Huenemann, a longtime disaster volunteer for the Northland Chapter of the American Red Cross. The Red Cross arranged for the family to stay in a local hotel for three days and provided some emergency food and clothing.
“The Red Cross and the firefighters were so kind and caring and worried, they were definitely keeping our spirits up,” she said.
Reynolds said they lost almost everything.
“My son lost all his school clothes, poor boy,” she said, explaining that Morneau got off the school bus to see his home destroyed by the fire. “And he’s got [school] pictures coming up next week.”
Both Reynolds and her mother are in a similar situation, except they were wearing slippers when they fled the fire, so they don’t even have shoes. Abramowski also lost all her medications in the fire – she is partially handicapped, suffering from a breathing disorder, osteoporosis and spinal degeneration, among other things, Reynolds said.
Clothing is the most important need they have right now – women’s sizes XL to 2X, size 8.5 shoe (regular and wide) plus kids size 12 husky pants, 14-16 boys or medium men’s shirts – because they have no space to store any household items, although they will need those too, eventually. Anyone with items to donate can call Reynolds and Abramowski at 218-269-4248 ¬ – luckily Abramowski had her cell phone in her pocket when they escaped the fire.
On Friday morning, Reynolds said she was trying to keep an upbeat attitude – “We’ve got each other and that’s what we’re going on,” she said – but the reality of the situation was sinking in fast. The Red Cross could only provide three nights at the hotel, and she didn’t know where they were going to go on Saturday.
“I’m kind of freaking out,” she said. “I’m not sure what we’re doing or where we’re going to go. It’s been a tough day.”
Reynolds got some good news within an hour of making that statement. Staff at Volunteer Services of Carlton County, Inc. was able to get them up to a week in a hotel. VSCC Executive Director Jill Hatfield said the non-profit organization worked with Lakes and Pines Community Action Council to begin the process of finding the family long-term housing.