Community Comes Together to Help Woman Who Lost Pets in House Fire and is Now Homeless

Thumbs, an AC PAW foster kitty, was one of many lost in the fire.

Thumbs, an AC PAW foster kitty, was one of many lost in the fire.

On Tuesday, January 13th, Thirteen AC PAWfoster cats died in a house fire in Wexford County, a fire believed to be started from a dryer. Kendra Steeby also lost four of her own dogs and nine cats in the blaze. Steeby and her brother Mark (as well as his girlfriend, Iola Christensen) tried to put out the fire and save the pets inside but were unable to due to the smoke. The one dog and cat they were able to get out of the house had already died from smoke inhalation. Only one dog survived who was outside at the time.

The house was destroyed and ACPAW has set up an emergency fund for Steeby to help her with expenses of rebuilding her life. She had no insurance on the contents of the house and lost everything. Tragedy also struck Steeby in August of 2014 when her only son, Tyler, died as the result of a car accident. Steeby and her boyfriend are currently living with her mother as the house was a total loss.

Steeby is a very dedicated and long time cat foster for AC PAWand a friend to many in the organization. The community has stepped forward to help her by donating money to the fund which is up to $6885. Donations range from $6 to $500 and include Sandi Pascarelli’s daughter, Angela, who gave $38 from her giving envelope (she is setting aside money to help people); $500 from Norma Eason on behalf of the Animal Welfare League of Benzie County; and $250 from the Grand Traverse County Veterans Affairs Staff.

Donations of items are also being collected for Steeby by AC PAW volunteer Kim Skarritt who owns Bowsers by the Bay in Elk Rapids. Skarritt has set aside space in a storage unit to store big and small items that people have offered to donate to Steeby. So far, some of the donations include a set of dishes; pots and pans; I-pad; coffeemaker; refrigerator; stove/oven; couch and more. Skarritt is keeping a master list of donations so if you would like to check with her about what to donate, you can call her at (231) 264-8408. Anything that can fit through a standard sized door can be donated. Please call ahead if you will be donating items to make sure someone is there to receive your items. After the snow thaws, they will be able to receive bigger items like furniture.

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