Indian Brook family thankful for support following devastating fire

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INDIAN BROOK: The family whose home was destroyed by fire in Indian Brook on Dec. 9 is feeling overwhelmed and thankful for all the support from communities across Nova Scotia in the wake of their devastating loss.

Erin Michael and her three kids all got out with just the clothes they were wearing from the Dec. 9 fire, losing everything including recently purchased Christmas presents.

Shurenda Michael, speaking on behalf of the family, said her mom and siblings are grateful for the positive support they are receiving.

“We are truly thankful for everyone who has helped us in anyway,” said Michael on Dec. 16. “My mom can not believe how many people have come together in order to help my family. It’s amazing to see so many people willing to help in any way after this tragic event.”

She said the support means everything and provides them a sense of hope and a sense of happiness.

“We are so happy that we are not planning four funerals as my other sister who lives with my grandmother was visiting,” said Michael. “We are so thankful my grandmother can take her, her children, and animals in this time of need. It makes us all realize we need to come together as a family.”

The support hasn’t just been local—but province-wide. She wanted to also thank all the first responders for their help.

“It hasn’t just been Indian Brook, but a lot of other Mi’kmaq communities and other communities across Nova Scotia have come together to help us and we are extremely grateful for that,” she said. “The Freedom Kitchen, located in Sackville reached out to my aunt the very next day to give my mom and the kids coats and shoes.

“There has been a gentleman in Shubenacadie whose trying to help at one of his businesses, Crafty Owl Artisans Market, the best he can taking donations for us. People from all over Nova Scotia have sent donations for my mother and her children. We are extremely grateful for every single person. We do not know how we will repay everyone.”

She said the family is still reeling from the after effects of the fire.

“We are still in a sense of shock, we all are trying to figure out routines, possibilities of what to do next, my family has come together in stronger communication,” she said. “We are feeling a sense of gratitude realizing at the end of the day family comes first and so thankful that we are able to create new memories and this Christmas together.”

Michael said the next step is to work with Chief and Council of Sipekne’katik.

“My mom loves her lot that she’s living on so we are hoping and going to come up with a plan that we tear down and rebuild,” said Michael. “We want to start over in that area as it creates a sense of security for mom and my siblings to live there.”

Approximately 40 firefighters from Shubenacadie; Indian Brook; Rawdon; Milford; Enfield; Station 40 Dutch Settlement; Nine Mile River; Lantz; and Stewiacke responded to the house fire, called in at about 7:48 p.m.

Jeff Van de Riet, with Shubenacadie Fire, said that crews were met with flames as soon as they arrived.

“The structure was fully involved upon arrival of the first in units with flames coming from windows and doors,” said Van de Riet.

He said no one was injured and the residents—including children aged 10,11, and 13-years-old—and all pets were safely out of the building. Crews were clear of the scene by 10:56 p.m.

The cause of the house fire has not been determined at this time, said Van de Riet.

To support the family, you can e-transfer donations to: erinmichael22@gmail.com.