The Shawnee News-Star
  • Community rallies around Tecumseh family after home damaged by fire

  • A community has rallied around a Tecumseh family after their home was damaged by fire.
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  • A community has rallied around a Tecumseh family after their home was damaged by fire.
    Tecumseh Fire Chief Aaron Williams said the fire was reported about 3:19 p.m. Monday at 603 E. Beech.
    Flames were visible above the garage and side of the home when fire crews arrived. Firefighters managed to contain the blaze to the attic, he said, although the house sustained both water and smoke damage.
    It was the home of Julio and Nicole Sanchez and their five children, which range in age from 5 months to 17. No one was home at the time of the fire.
    After firefighters extinguished the blaze, cars lined Beech Street as members of the community, including teachers, members of the Tecumseh football team, coaches, their fellow employees, members of their church, friends and family, and others, gathered to help the family salvage some of their belongings from the home.
    “When I was completely numb and watching my house burn,” Nicole Sanchez said, she also was reassured as there were later about 100 people in her yard trying to help.
    “We’re blessed with family and friends…this restores your faith in humanity,” she said. “It was truly amazing to see everybody’s generosity and people working together.”
    Julio Sanchez said the family is staying at the Tecumseh First Baptist Church mission house. And while the family is going through an amazing loss, the community has supported them.
    “It’s really humbling,” Julio Sanchez said, adding so many have helped them out.
    Julio Sanchez, who is the director of the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club, is always about helping others, but now he and his family are on the opposite side of giving.
    “Words can’t explain… that’s what small towns are about,” Julio Sanchez said, thanking everyone for their help.
    Nicole Sanchez, who is employed by the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, said she is amazed on how her employer and coworkers — and many form the community — have rallied around her and her family during this time.
    “I am so humbled to have been born and raised in Tecumseh and to have the love and support from the community,” she said.
    Williams said cause of the fire has been ruled undetermined. And while fire crews are somewhat baffled about how the blaze started, he said there was rain and some storms in the area Monday so there’s a possibility the fire could have been sparked by a lightning strike.
    The chief said the fire is not considered suspicious. The family’s home was insured.
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