GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A family of five lost everything they own in a fire at their home near Hudsonville.
Tuesday morning started like any other lazy summer day on the quiet cul-de-sac where 11-year-old Zachary Valliant lives.
“I really thought it was going to be the same day as yesterday,” said Zachary.
Until he looked out the window and across the street.
“Oh no! My friend’s house is on fire. I ran super fast to the garage, went out the door and saw that it wasn’t a hallucination, it wasn’t a dream. I thought I was going to wake up any second now, but it was all real,” Zachary said.
The fire started shortly before 9 a.m. at a home in the 600 block of White Oak Court, located in a subdivision west of 40th Avenue just north of Port Sheldon Street in Georgetown Township.
The homeowners had gone to work and their three sons — ages 13, 11 and 9 — were home alone when the fire started.
First responders told Ottawa County dispatchers they could see smoke from a mile away. A photo taken by Georgetown Township Fire Chief Dan Hamming showed flames enveloping most of the two-story home.
The boys’ mother said she is so happy her kids did what they’d been taught and got out of the house.
“Everybody was there. Every neighbor was out here doing what they could do to help out,” said Zachary’s father, David Valliant.
Neighbors, the superintendent of Hudsonville Public Schools and the principal of the nearby elementary school also showed up to offer support.
“It was a little bit overwhelming for everyone here, but everyone just pitched in,” said David Valliant.
Neighbors handed over sweatshirts and shoes for the boys, along with water and snacks.
The homeowner said a woman walked up to her and handed her $300 and walked away. David Valliant says that’s the kind of giving he’s seen before from this community.
“We’ve lived in this area for about a year as of just a few weeks ago and this community is pretty close-knit. They really help people out around here,” he said.
Within hours, a clothing drive had been organized. Hudsonville’s Alward Elementary, located at 3811 Port Sheldon Street, will be open Wednesday from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. so people can drop of gift cards and clothing for the family that lost their home.
The family needs items in the following sizes:
Clothing: Adult small
Clothing: Youth large (14/16)
Clothing: Medium (10/12)
Clothes: Large t-shirts, 36/34 pants, belts
The family is also in need of Blue Buffalo small breed adult dog food.
The homeowner said the insurance adjuster came out and asked if she wants to rebuild in the same spot. She said after the community response, there’s no way that she’s ever leaving the Hudsonville area.