Crosby Family Trying To Rebuild After Devastating Fire
A fire to a duplex in Crosby last Friday has left one family starting from scratch again.
“I got a phone call saying that, ‘my house was on fire,’” Jennifer Russell, the mother of the household said. “We had just gotten to Walmart and I rushed back home to find my house in smoke.”
Jennifer Russell lives with her boyfriend Justin, her daughter Amber, and her stepson Dominick, and after a fire destroyed their side of a duplex last Friday, the family was forced to start from scratch.
“The only thing I was able to save was my Uncle Jerry’s ashes, and I was able to save a couple pictures of my daughter, but that’s it,” Russell said.
The Russells lost everything from basic house appliances to clothes, furniture, and most importantly, their five dogs.
“That was the first thing I could think of was my dogs, and no one could tell me anything,” Russell said. “Once you have an animal, you bond with it – you become family.”
Without renter’s insurance, the family didn’t know where to start, but luckily, Amber’s cheer coach stepped up.
“So, I immediately went into mom mode, and took [Jennifer’s daughter] Amber shopping,” Carissa Ulness, Amber’s cheerleading coach, said. “We made sure she had everything she needed for the weekend, and then I started reaching out to my fellow cheer families.”
At their next competition, Big Lake, Jackson County Central, and Minnetonka cheer surprised the Russell’s with much needed donations of all kinds.
“I have to thank her coach, Carissa, 100 percent, because whatever I have gotten wouldn’t be possible without her,” Russell said.
The Brainerd school district has also helped the family, and a table has been set up at the last two basketball games accepting donations.
“This has brought us all together, and it shows that in a bad situation, and in a bad time in your life, no matter what it is, we are all going to come together,” Ulness said.
The family is still desperately in need of a washing machine and some cooking items among other things, but Jennifer is just happy she still has her family.
“I am thankful that my stepson, Dominick, and my daughter, Amber, were not there, and no one was hurt.” Russell said.
Jennifer also says that these things can happen to anyone and no one is immune to fires. The cause of the fire has not been found.
A GoFundMe has been set up by two of Jennifer’s older children. You can donate at https://www.gofundme.com/fire-relief-for-jennifer. Coach Ulness is also collecting items for the family, and you can email her with any items you may have at firstname.lastname@example.org. Pickups can also be arranged for larger items.