LAKE STATION — The city's Fire Department and the community quickly pulled together Saturday in hopes of saving Christmas for a mother and two small children after they lost everything in a tragic fire.
Monetary and gift donations immediately poured into the Lake Station Fire Station 1, just hours after fire crews tried to combat a trailer home fire at the Mansard Dulac Mobile Home Park.
Members of Fire Department's Ladies Auxiliary planned to shop Saturday night for essentials and Christmas gifts for the children, ages 5 and 7, said Fire Chief Chuck Fazekas.
"We want to give them the basics, clothes, toiletries, and get that to them now, and get the kids some presents. We just want to get them something so they don’t think they did anything wrong or got overlooked by Santa or anything," Fazekas said.
Fire crews were dispatched about 1:23 p.m. to a trailer home, 936 Lawrence Place, and didn't leave until about 4 p.m., he said. The family lost everything — Christmas presents and essentials included.
"It's a total loss," Fazekas said.
The mother told investigators she had taken her two children -- a boy age 5 and and girl age 7 -- on a trip to a nearby park to play Saturday. While at the park, the mother told investigators they learned a trailer was on fire nearby, so they went back home and learned it was their home.
When crews got there, smoke and flames were jutting out of the windows. The fire spread quickly, having already reached the rafters, he said.
The New Chicago Volunteer Fire Department assisted the Lake Station Fire Department at the scene and the American Red Cross has been requested.
The mother and her two children are staying with a family member in the meantime, Fazekas said.
The fire is under investigation, but foul play is not suspected.
Fazekas said donations have been pouring in nonstop at the station since word got out about the fire.
"We’re a small-knit community, and so right off the bat, we said let's all meet at the station and start getting some donations," he said. "It’s something we do. It’s a tragedy, you have to think about how you would feel if you were on the receiving end of something like this."
Several local businesses, including Ace Hardware, Tap House and JJ's Pizza Shack, have stepped up and donated money and brought it to the station, he said.
Donations can be brought to the Lake Station Fire Station 1, 1876 Fairview Ave. The money will be used to buy the family essentials and Christmas gifts.