Family works to pick up the pieces after devastating fire - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Family works to pick up the pieces after devastating fire

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Town of Adams (WXOW) -

It was the day before Thanksgiving and the Fincks were out shopping for the holidays unaware that their home was going up in flames. They say there are no words to describe the devastation, but they are grateful nobody was home at the time.

The Black River Falls Fire Department responded to the call last Wednesday afternoon, arriving on the Finck Family Farm to a mobile home engulfed in flames.

"We don't really know exactly what happened," said Debra Finck. "We did have a wood-burning stove in the living room, and I would have to guess that's what happened."

A skeleton of the structure is all that stands. It is surrounded by a pile of ashes and charred belongings.

"Our three daughters, this is all they've ever known," said Debra. "Every little thing that they've ever made was in that house."

The family has spent the last week sifting through the rubble, hoping to find memories that survived the fire.

"It's not just that me and my husband lost everything," said Debra. "It's their lives."

"You think about things that burned after the fact," said Jackie Finck. "You're like, 'Oh man. I made that in high school,' or 'There goes my Letterman jacket.' It's kinda sad."

The family lost four cats in the fire. William Finck, his daughter Jayme Finck, and her boyfriend Kyle Gruber are now homeless. 

Even after the devastation, the timing of the fire reminds the family that they still have a lot to be thankful for.

"We spent Thanksgiving eating ham sandwiches that were donated by friends of the family and just being really grateful that everyone was alive," said Jessica Elmhorst, Debra and William's daughter.

They say they have seen an outpouring of love and support from surrounding communities in their time of need.

"You don't know you have that much love around you until you have a tragedy," said Debra.

Insurance is not going to cover the cost of clean up, putting a heavy financial burden on the family. They hope to raise $15,000. Money donated by the community will go toward cleaning costs and building a new home.

The Finck family members that were displaced are currently staying with relatives.

A benefit is scheduled for Saturday, December 16 at the Deerview in Hatfield. There is also a Finck Family Fire Fund account set up at Unity Bank in Neillsville.

Those interested in giving can visit Gross Motors in Black River Falls, Hotel Bar in Humbird, Deerview in Hatfield, Speakeasy in Neillsville, and American Legion Post 73 in Neillsville. Donations can also be made online at the House Fire Total Loss Fund on GoFundMe.

Those interested in following the recovery efforts can go to the Finck Family Fire Facebook page for updates.

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