Buchanan raising money for family whose home burned

Published 9:28 am Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Submitted photo Buchanan Herd members Dylan Catalano, Alex Tobler and Andrea Bair helped raise money for the Soltys family Monday in downtown Buchanan.

Submitted photo
Buchanan Herd members Dylan Catalano, Alex Tobler and Andrea Bair helped raise money for the Soltys family Monday in downtown Buchanan.

BUCHANAN — A Buchanan High School counselor said she and her husband are thankful that no one was injured after a fire destroyed their home in east Buchanan Monday morning.

“We will be able to figure all of this out,” said Cindy Soltys, pointing to two burned vehicles and what remained of their house, located at 308 Holmes Drive near Brookwood Golf Course in Niles Township. “What’s important is we (Cindy and Mark Soltys) got out.”

Niles Township Fire Chief Gary Brovold said his department was dispatched to the fire at around 3:41 a.m.

Firefighters arrived to find a good portion of the home engulfed in flames.

“The two cars and the deck on top of it — the whole thing was just an arch of fire,” Brovold.

Cindy said the sound of the fire woke her up.

“I heard snapping, popping and a roaring noise,” she said. “I came out in the kitchen and saw the entire end of my house and the fire roaring up into the trees.

“It was like nothing you’d ever heard before.”

She and her husband — who were the only ones home — ran outside and called 911.

Cindy said they lost two vehicles that were parked underneath a large deck on the side of the house.

“It just blew the cars right up,” she said. “We got out right in time.”

Brovold said it appears the fire started near where the cars were parked, although the cause remains under investigation. A fire investigator from the Michigan State Police was on the scene around noon Monday to help determine a cause.

Brovold said he called the investigator because he has more expertise in determining the cause of fires.

Cindy said they’ve lived in the home for nine years.

She said at least one of the family’s three cats died in the fire. They found one alive in the basement, but the third remained missing as of noon Monday.

“We are hoping the third one ran out… I started ripping the screens off the windows to yell for them to come outside,” she said.

Cindy said the Buchanan community has rallied in support of their family.

Friends have already offered them a place to stay, while the Buchanan High School student cheering organization — known as The Herd — is currently collecting money for the family.

The Soltys’ have a son — Sam Swem — and just graduated from Buchanan High School who was a key member of The Herd organization.

“We are really grateful to everyone who has come out and supported us,” Cindy said. “We feel blessed that we live in a community like Buchanan where everybody takes care of everybody else.”

Jessica Cornelius, a Buchanan teacher who serves as an advisor for The Herd, said about 20 Herd members were collecting donations in downtown Buchanan Monday.

The Herd did the same thing after a Buchanan apartment fire displaced several families a couple years ago.

“Whenever there is a crisis, or if there is something that needs to be taken care of we try to rise to the occasion and be there,” Cornelius said of The Herd.

Anyone interested in donating to the Soltys family should do so at the Buchanan High School office, Cornelius said.