Family in Hastings Receiving Help From West Michigan Following Fire, Flooding

Posted at 5:27 PM, Apr 26, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-26 18:53:46-04

A Family in Hastings is beginning to clean-up again following a fire that destroyed part of their home in March, then flooding in April.

The United Way office in Hastings provided the family with a water pump and generator.

Kevin Kaufman began the process of pumping water out of their basement Thursday.

He also sped up the process by digging a long trench with a shovel to guide the water from the back lawn to a ditch near their street, Carlton Center East.

“It was great when he called me this morning and told me that the water was out of the house,” said Heather Kaufman, Kevin’s wife.

Although Heather was relieved to hear the news, the family still has a long way to go with cleanup.

There is now mold growing on the drywall in the basement, on their furniture and baby Alex’s crib.

He is turning 1-year-old next Friday.

Because of mold, all of Alex’s toys will have to be thrown out along with his crib and all of the family’s furniture and television which was being stored in the basement following the fire March, 15.

A FOX 17 viewer contacted us asking how she could help after we first ran a story on the family Wednesday.

Heather said she offered to buy Alex a birthday present and the family was touched.

“We received an email from a lady named Kimberly and she said she heard his birthday was coming up and she was wondering if we would accept a gift for his birthday to help uplift out spirits,” said Heather. “It was sweet,  it brought tears to my eyes. It’s just a nice, nice offer.”

Our FOX 17 viewers have been contacting us asking how they can help to pay it forward.

This is a list of items the family said they needed to continue cleaning up and rebuilding Friday.

A large dumpster
Anyone who knows about: septic systems, boiler heating units, and outdoor drains/tiles. Also anyone willing to help with cleanup, drywall, or paint.
Someone with backhoe (or similar)to help dig

And, of course, any type of donation would be greatly appreciated.

Kevin Kaufman told us he can do much of the work himself, but materials are an issue and the amount of work needed to cleanup quickly is overwhelming for the couple

Email is the best way to get in touch with the family at,

The United Way, Hastings office, is also helping to coordinate some of the assistance to the family.

The family didn’t have flood insurance because they live nowhere near a lake or river.

The couple’s insurance company was paying for damage caused by the fire in March which started from a candle in their daughter’s bedroom.

The family says the company told them they will not pay for anything associated with the flooding, which destroyed most everything that had been rebuilt or salvaged following the fire.