Neighbors and strangers step up to help 68-year-old woman displaced from house fire

Posted at 7:54 PM, Nov 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-18 22:19:30-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- A 68-year-old woman in Grand Rapids lost everything in a house fire early Friday morning and is now getting help from neighbors and people she's never even met.

The Grand Rapids Fire Department responded to the fire around 7:30 a.m. on November 16 on the 1100 block of Lincoln Avenue Northwest. On Friday, the department told FOX 17 that while it is an ongoing investigation, early indications show a space heater may have been the cause.

Mickie Taylor lived in that house alone with her six dogs and two cats.

“I felt in shock. I’ve never had something like that happen, just like a shock," Mickie says. "I couldn’t think. The main thing I thought about was my pets because that’s who I am.”

She and all her pets got out safely and are now being cared for by neighbors. With a temporary place to stay, Mickie still needs to replace all her clothing, food, furniture and hygiene products.

“I’m completely at a loss of all the inside stuff," Mickie says. "I right now don’t have a place to stay but I’m trying to find out what programs may help me.”

One of her neighbors, Rebecca Gilbault decided to reach out to the community on Facebook to ask for help and says the responses have been overwhelming.

"Everybody needs things and the best way I knew to help her was to reach out to the community," Rebecca tells FOX 17.

Rebecca also started a GoFundMe page to raise $2,500 for Mickie, which will go toward paying for temporary housing while her home is repaired.

In the past 72 hours that Mickie has been without a home, her neighbors have come to her rescue by giving her a place to stay and cooking meals to accommodate her special vegan diet.

It will take a lot of generosity and hard work to put her life back together but with her neighbors by her side, they're hoping Mickie gets everything she needs.

“You know, I know there’s people out there with big hearts and I knew that, you know, if I reached out to them, you know, that there’d be people willing to help," Rebecca says.

Mickie says insurance will cover the costs of rebuilding her home and replacing appliances but she will need all of her furniture replaced. She says that rebuilding her home will take about four months, so she needs a place to stay until then.

Mickie says she's also grateful for the help she's received from the Red Cross and the Grand Rapids Fire Department.