Community rallies around local family hit by fire

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By Aaron Whitlock
Mason Times Staff Writer

A blaze that claimed the home of a Mason family has brought an out-pouring of support from the community.

On the morning of Nov. 1, Angie Miller woke to the sound of someone pounding on her door, alerting her to the fire that had begun to engulf the house.

The good Samaritan was the Miller’s neighbor, John Sween, who saw the flames as he was driving by the home and rushed to alert the family.

Inside the home along with Miller were her three sons, her boyfriend and his son, two cats and one dog.

They all managed to escape safely despite all the smoke detectors failing.

Although the family was able to salvage some personal items, including some of the children’s instruments and sports medals, the insurance company declared the home a complete loss.

It did not take long for sisters Nicole and Jessie Anderson, friends of Miller for nearly 25 years, to come up with a plan to help. The two created a page for the family on Nov. 3 on “gofundme,” an online fundraising website, with an initial goal of $3,000.

“The response from the community has been great.” Said Nicole
Anderson. “Mason is a great town to live in. When a devastating circumstance occurs, everyone pulls together to help that person in need.”

It took only three days for the Miller’s “House Fire Fund” to reach its goal, and by the evening of Monday, Nov. 11 they had increased the goal to $4,500. The amount raised thus far sits at $4,020 though they are still accepting donations.

Along with the monetary donations, the community has also volunteered a couch, a kitchen table, a bedroom set, and clothing to the family, according to Anderson.

Miller, who has had plenty to contend with in the days since the fire, could not be reached for an interview, but had this to say in a letter.

“These last few days have been rough, but it helps to have such caring friends and family. I am so blessed to have the community support my family at this time. Every little bit will help my family get back on our feet, we can’t begin to thank everyone enough.”

As for Sween, who came to the rescue when their home’s fire alarms had failed, Miller had this to say. “My family wants to give a special thank you to our ‘guardian angel’ John Sween. If it weren’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. You will always hold a special place in my heart.”

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