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Fire ravages home Christmas eve

Post photo by L. Allen

An Oakfield Township family lost everything they owned in a fire on Christmas Eve day, including their dog and two cats.

According to Oakfield Township Fire Chief Don Riker, the call came in about 10 a.m. Friday morning on a fire at 11948 Ramsdell, between 14 and 15 Mile Roads. When firefighters arrived on the scene of the single-wide mobile home, it was fully engulfed. Courtland Fire assisted Oakfield at the scene.

The family who owned the home, Robert and Sarah Joldersma and their three sons, were not home at the time. Robert was next door at his parents’ home with the three boys in the hot tub, and Sarah was reportedly shopping.

Riker said that family alerted Robert to smoke coming from the home. When he rushed back there and opened the door, the home was in flames.

Riker said that the fire was likely caused by a dryer or electrical issue.

While no one was injured in the blaze, the family did lose their pets—a German Shepherd, and their two cats. They also lost their Christmas presents.

A collection for the family has been set up at Zain’s Pary Store, 10030 14 Mile Road, and emails with questions or offers to help can also be sent to Robert’s mother, Krystal at riverqueen@auis.net.

Riker said he was glad to see how the community reached out to help the Joldersma family. “The community stepped up and I’m very happy with what they’ve done,” he remarked. “I think they ended up with a pretty nice Christmas.”

He added that while this fire was a fluke, there are things homeowners can do during the winter to help prevent fires. The Chief noted that everyone should make sure smoke detectors are working, and be sure chimneys are clean. “We are coming into the season when we start seeing chimney fires. We were toned out on a possible chimney fire while fighting this fire,” he said.

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