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'There's nothing left': Hudsonville family staying hopeful after losing everything in house fire

The family is now staying in a nearby hotel, and while they did have insurance, they say it won't be nearly enough to cover all of their losses.

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. — A Hudsonville family is recovering after a fire destroyed their home over the weekend. The family of six is staying in a hotel for the time being, but now they're hoping the community can help in any way they can.

It was 11:30 Saturday night when Amanda Conrad's son woke up her and her husband. 

"He came running in the bedroom and said 'mom, the shed's on fire!'" Conrad recalled. 

The 17-year-old could see the shed that sat just outside of his window. 

"We were running around like 'what do you mean, how bad is it?'" Conrad said, "and he was like, 'no, it's bad, we need to go.'"

"I found the keys and opened the back door, and I was just engulfed in smoke like I had never experienced," she added. 

Luckily, the whole family made it out safely, including their dog. They sat in their car down the street and waited. 

The fire was out within a couple of hours, but it left behind a trail of destruction. 

"On the side of the house with the bedrooms and the bathroom... everything is just completely lost," Conrad said. 

"My son's bedroom is... there's absolutely nothing left," she added, "it's like it never existed." 

Investigators believe the fire was caused by electrical issues in the family's shed. 

"They had to tear the roof out," Conrad said, "so everything is either soaked, burned, or covered in ash. Everything is just basically gone."

"Sorry, it's hard to talk about," she added, with tears in her eyes. 

When Conrad thinks about what could have happened, she said it's difficult to even find the words.

"When we went back and I saw my son's room... if he hadn't been awake, and if he hadn't heard the noise and looked out the window, I don't think him, or myself and my husband would have made it out," said Conrad.

"We're just so thankful," she added. "This is a huge tragedy, but we're all here, and we're grateful for that every single day to be able to be together."

The family had help from the Red Cross, and is now staying in a nearby hotel. While they did have insurance, the family says it won't be nearly enough to cover all of their losses. 

"We've had a number of family and friends reaching out to give us donations," said Conrad, "it's just hard because we don't have a lot of space, so we can't bring a lot right now."

"The most urgent thing we're trying to find is a more permanent place to go," she added, "so we can cook our own meals, and have a little bit more structure."

A close friend of the family also started an online fundraiser through GoFundMe to help them get back on their feet. 

"It's been really hard and really uncomfortable, especially for my husband and I to reach out and ask for help," said Conrad. "It's hard to ask, and it's hard to accept it, but we're in a place where we have to lean on our community right now, because we just don't have another option."

"We're so grateful for all of the help, we really, really are," she added. "We feel really blessed in a really tragic situation."


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