Mentor-on-the-Lake community gives back to family after fire destroys their home

MENTOR-ON-THE-LAKE, Ohio — A devastating fire in Mentor-on-the-Lake on Sunday left a mother with three young children homeless.

“The holiday season is all about giving, and that would be the best time,” Fire Chief James Pechatsko said.

Pechatsko says the fire started in the back of the house and spread to the attic of the house, where a mother and her three young daughters aged 11, 8 and 6 once lived.

“Unfortunately it does happen, but fortunately for Mentor-on-the-Lake there are few fires of this severity,” Pechatsko said.

Now their community is rallying behind them in hopes of bringing them some comfort during this difficult time.

“It’s a total loss. Everything in this house is gone,” said Tina Messinger, who is one of the residents donating to help the family.

The leader says he’s grateful everyone inside escaped safely, but now one of their own has to restart, just before the holidays.

“You can’t even say how devastating that would be for anyone,” Messinger said.

Overwhelmed with emotion after seeing the damage to the home, Messinger tells News 5 she felt called to help.

“As a police service we run a program over Christmas called Santa’s Blue helpers which we are looking to sponsor the family for Christmas. I mean nothing will replace what has been lost, but we want to do everything we can,” Messinger said.

The city is also accepting cash donations and gift cards to help the family.

“Mentor-on-the-Lake is a small community, and we really pull together. This is not the first time that citizens of the city have come to support other fire victims,” Pechatsko said.

You can drop off donations at Mentor-on-the-Lake Town Hall Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

If you come after these hours, there will be a secure donation box located in the town hall office.

Affected victims ask you to leave your name and address so they can thank you later.

“We are all here together. We all want to help,” Messinger said.

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