FORT LORAMIE — The Fort Loramie couple who were seriously injured in a house fire on July 28 have a long road toward recovery, but want to express their profound gratitude for the community’s outpouring of support and kindness.
Homeowners Mark and Anita Brandewie were transported by CareFlight after being burned in the fire at 22 Miami St. in Fort Loramie.
The community has continued to rally to provide kindness through prayers, emotional support, financial help and a place for the family to live after their home was declared a total loss. Kelly and her older sister, Danielle, also lived at the residence with their parents. The family lost everything in the fire, including their two dogs, Lucy and Zoey.
“We just really want to thank the community. We have had so much help. And it’s just been overwhelming, and I don’t know how to thank everybody, because it seems impossible,” Kelly said. “We always knew we lived in such a great area, but this really made us feel pretty lucky. Since the fire, there were all the fundraisers and just people reaching out. And even strangers reaching out and saying they are thinking about us. All of the support and compassion from people has been overwhelming for us all.”
Fort Loramie Fire Chief Brad Schulze estimated the total loss amount of the property’s contents and structure to be about $500,000.
Schulze confirmed the cause of the fire started from a plastic gas can that was sitting next to a lawn mower in the garage. Kelly Brandewie said her mother had just finished mowing the grass when she parked the lawn mower in the garage. Minutes later the garage was on fire.
Schulze said in July, “The fire started in the attached garage and burned into the roof and roof rafters of the house. The garage was fully engulfed in flames, and fire had already spread to the attic of the house when firefighters arrived.”
Kelly said the fire spread so quickly because there were a couple other tanks of fuel in the garage. Also, the open attic area of wood in the attached garage was exposed and it extended into the attic over the home. This allowed the house to go up in flames within seconds, she said.
Mark made the call for help after he and Anita were outside of their brick home. Neighbors across the street administered first aid to the couple before first responders arrived on scene.
“It was pretty remarkable within those next few minutes (after they got out of the fire) of what went down. It took a little bit for the fire department and rescue squad (to arrive). So, all of our neighbors, they didn’t hesitate at all to jump into action and everyone there that helped that night,” Kelly said. “It was just pure bravery on their part. They started moving our cars out of the way, and helping my mom and dad, and comforting me. It was pretty cool.”
Kelly was also at the house that Saturday night when the fire started, but only Mark and Anita were caught up in the fire and were burned.
Mark has been released from the hospital. Anita is still being treated at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton. She sustained 30 percent and he received 15 percent of mixed second and third degree burns in the fire. They both have undergone skin graph surgeries, and will continue to have additional hospital visits and surgeries to treat their injuries. They both are being treated to control the pain, including nerve pain.
After the fire, several fundraisers were held by several businesses and members of the community. Extended family established GoFundMe page.
The GoFundMe page, which can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/f/fundraiser-for-mark-and-anita-brandewie has raised a total of $41,655 by 478 donors.
Other than those who donated to the GoFundMe page, the Brandewies would also like to thank the following businesses in Fort Loramie for organizing fundraisers: Studio 11, Al’s Place, Bruckens Pub, Dairy King and Motel, Morrie’s Landing, Break Free Health & Fitness, the Dollar General and Small Town Boutique.
“I really just want to stress how grateful we are for all the fundraisers and everybody that’s been reaching out. And especially everybody that was there that night, with the fire department and rescue squad and our neighbors and friends. Everybody that’s helped, especially that night. It was so scary and they didn’t hesitate to jump into action,” Kelly reiterated. “What a big impact a little town can make.”
Anyone who wishes to send cards or notes of well wishes to Anita in the hospital, should mail them to Anita Brandewie, Miami Valley Hospital, One Wyoming St., Dayton, OH 45409.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.