ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - A family in Escanaba is struggling after a house fire destroyed everything they owned just one week ago.
"I woke up and smelled the smoke, the smoke was there, and I opened my eyes and everything was black. So I immediately went to Gerald and tired waking him up,” said Brenda Trombley, who escaped the early-morning fire with her boyfriend, Gerald Winberg Jr.
Trombley and Winberg were both able to escape by way of the roof with the help of a neighbor since they lived in the top level of the duplex.
The duplex is a complete loss. The other family that lived on the lower level also escaped unharmed.
"Thank God the neighbors, they had a ladder, and he was like a pro. He came right over that fence like he was hurdling his whole life. He came over that fence with a ladder and we proceeded to get down,” Trombley said.
Unfortunately, Trombley was unable to save their two dogs, Douglas and Buddy.
"I'm sitting there trying to get my dogs to come with me, I'm dragging them and I'm pulling them and I'm begging them to come with me and they just wouldn't come,” she said.
Now, Trombley and Winberg are trying to get back on their feet while mourning their two dogs, and they're turning to the community for support.
After some confusion with donations, separate fundraisers have been set up to help both families that lost everything to the fire.
"We have about $455 donated so far. We only set our goal at $2,000 because we just need help starting out because they will not have a home in the next week here,” said Zoe Heider, fiancée to Trombley’s son. She added that Trombley and Winberg only have one week to find a place to live.
Furniture and other large-item donations can be dropped off at 4713 D Rd. in Bark River.
Smaller items, such as clothing and toiletries, can be dropped off at Apt. 404 at the Les Cheneaux Apartments in Escanaba and at Apt. 2710 at the Sandhill Apartments on 7th Avenue in Escanaba.
The family is also in need of school supplies and clothing for their 15-year-old daughter, Anissia.
To donate to the family’s GoFundMe, click here.
Monetary donations of any amount can also be given through the Delta County Credit Union under the account called “Brenda Trombley”.
Donations in the Iron Mountain area can also be given to Trombley’s sister-in-law by calling or texting 906-396-1914.
For any questions as to what items the family needs, message Heider through her Facebook page, which can be found here.