Community steps up to help after family loses home to fire


STERLING — Tragedy struck a Sterling family Sunday, Sept. 30, when they returned home to find that their house had caught on fire, leaving it uninhabitable and taking all of their possessions and the family’s two dogs.

The family of six was north of the area on a day trip, homeowner Cory Ellison said, when they received a call from Ellison’s mother around 2 p.m. alerting them that their house, which had been in the family for several generations, had caught fire.

“I don't know what went down,” Ellison said. “I don't know how it started. All I do know is we lost everything.”

While the entire situation has been a struggle for the family, Ellison said the hardest part for his children was losing the family dogs, who he said were very attached to the children.

Ellison is the owner of a small construction company, which he operated out of his house.

Along with all of their possessions, Ellison’s tool trailer also burned in the fire, destroying his supplies and leaving him without means to work and make a living.

“The main goal is to get back to work within the next week here,” Ellison said. “I’ve got to go find a tool trailer and start gathering tools.”

While the family is currently staying in Ellison’s mom’s house while they try to get back on their feet, the community has stepped up and has been tremendous in providing what it can for the family, Ellison said.

A few days after the fire, Ellison’s sisters created a GoFundMe account in an effort to raise money for their brother’s family, also encouraging people to drop off donations and supplies to Ellison’s mother’s house.

As of Oct. 9,, the account has raised $4,811 toward its goal of $10,000. In addition to that, the family has received donations of clothes, toys, tools, hardware store gift cards and other supplies from all over the community.

“It’s overwhelming, the people that have been bringing stuff already, people I don’t even know,” Ellison said. “The first day that it happened, there were people here, local friends from the community, people I’ve known forever, bringing us stuff.”

Ellison said when people stop by to drop off donations, he has been having them write down their name and address so he can send some sort of thank you when everything is settled, adding that it’s the least he can do to show his family’s gratitude. He has also posted a video on his personal Facebook page thanking the community for its support, he said.

“I’d like to tell them thank you for all the donations and help, offers, support, everything that everybody has done,” Ellison said. “It has been a tremendous help. The kids really appreciate it.”

While the family has received incredible support from the community, Ellison said his main focus is now restoring his tool collection so he can get back to his business, build or find a new house and continue supporting his family.

Donations of tools or gift cards from hardware stores such as Home Depot, Lowe’s or Menards would be greatly appreciated, Ellison said.

Donations can be made at, or can be dropped off at Ellison’s mom’s house at 7234 Ellison Rd., Sterling.


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