GoFundMe created for Niles family who lost home in fire

Published 12:29 pm Wednesday, January 24, 2024

NILES — Community members are raising funds for a Niles family who lost everything in a Sunday house fire.

Michael Salisbury created a GoFundMe to support Niles resident Dave Frantz and his family in the aftermath of the fire. As of 12:10 p.m. Wednesday, $11,276 was raised toward the $20,000 GoFundMe goal.

“Please donate anything you can to help this family,” wrote Salisbury. “They are great people and would help and do anything they can to help others.”

According to the Niles Fire Department, at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, January 21, 2024 the NFD responded to 451 S. St. Joseph St. for a residential structure fire. Fire units were on scene within four minutes to find smoke and fire visible from the rear of the structure. Firefighters were met by family and neighbors outside stating there was a victim in the 2nd story. 

Fire crews deployed a ladder to the second story of the structure to assist a female in exiting the 2nd floor through a window. At that time, the victim indicated there was also a dog in the same room. Fire crews entered the second story window to find the dog and remove it down the ladder.

Crew entered the structure from the front of the house to be met with heavy fire conditions in the basement, rear of the first floor and into the second story. Due to the balloon frame construction of the house, it made it difficult to fight fire on all floors. Once the fire made it into the attic, all offensive operations were transitioned to defensive fire control from the exterior. 

The weather conditions played a factor in the incident. The first hydrant froze during operations and quick thinking from fire fighters shuttled water from each apparatus on scene to continue fighting the fire until another hydrant 900’ away could reestablish water supply.

The fire was completely brought under control and fire units were released 3:30 a.m., Monday, Jan. 22. According to officials, it appears that the fire was accidental. SMCAS transported a male and female to Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Indiana with burns and smoke inhalation. The family dog that was pulled from the fire seems to be doing well.

Altogether, 32 fire fighters from across five fire departments worked together to stop the fire: Niles City Fire, Niles Charter Township Fire Department, Buchanan City Fire Department, Bertrand Charter Township Fire Department and Howard Township Fire Department. 

There were no injuries reported by any fire personnel on scene. 

“Please please share this and every single donation helps,” Salisbury wrote. “Remember, this family lost everything from food, clothes, pets, keepsakes and memories. Let’s show this family that love, friendship and caring isn’t gone.”