Family Loses Home, Community Steps Up to Help

Family Loses Home, Community Steps Up to Help

A family of nine loses their home to a fire and Thursday, a community is coming together to help them.
SPRING MILLS, CENTRE COUNTY - A family of nine loses their home to a fire and Thursday, a community is coming together to help them.

The Haupt family's home off Ayva Lane in Spring Mills, Centre County, is a total loss. A State Police Fire Marshal and insurance adjuster were on site Thursday surveying the damage. They estimate it to be around $350,000.

Thursday, the family visited the home to look over what remains.

The family is staying positive. With seven children, ages 12 and younger, the parents, Nate and Sarah, say it's important to stay strong for them.

The family would not speak on camera Thursday, but neighbors say they'll work with them every step of the way.

This neighborhood in Spring Mills is usually quiet, but not Wednesday.

"All of a sudden, I got a call from my neighbor, Marlin, and said Nate and Sarah's house is on fire," neighbor Charlene Klase said. "It was really upsetting."

For eight years, Charlene Klase has lived next door to the Haupt family, so when she got the phone call, she was devastated.

"You just never expect it to ever happen," she said.

Marlin Fultz, Jr. lives a few hundred yards away from what used to be the Haupt family home.

"It's devastating to imagine it can happen so close to home," Fultz said.

A fire ripped through the raised rancher Wednesday afternoon, destroying everything, even killing the family's dog.

"I looked out the window and I was like, oh no," Fultz said. "At that point, I saw the flames, I knew it was all gone."

Debris and ashes are all that's left Thursday, but what does remain is a community ready to help. Bags and boxes, full of donations, are already pouring into Grace Baptist Church.

"Mostly clothing items at this point," Church Pastor, Kenneth Codner, said.

Codner is overwhelmed at the outreach and says the Haupt family of nine is, too.

"I think, not only are they overwhelmed with what has happened to them, but I think they're overwhelmed with how people are responding already," he said.

"We don't want to lose them as neighbors," Klase said. "We love each other and we want to see them stay here."

From tragedy, comes compassion and a hope that this quiet community will stick together as a family.

"They're definitely a positive family and we're all positive up here," Fultz said. "They'll make it work and we'll work together."

A cause of the fire has not been determined yet.

Grace Baptist Church and others in the Spring Mills community will continue to take donations for the family. Anyone wanting to help can drop off donations at Grace Baptist Church. The address is 3596 Penns Valley Road, Spring Mills.
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