COLUMBUS, Ind. — A fire that erupted Monday night northwest of Columbus destroyed valuables, including Christmas presents, for a family that includes five children.
But even though Matthew Goff and his kids — ages 5 to 14 — were temporarily left homeless, multiple agencies are joining forces to provide them the best holiday season possible.
The presents were stored in a second-floor room being remodeled above an attached garage at 4591 N. County Road 150 West. But flames from the 10 p.m. fire gutted the entire upper-floor unit.
Among those who arrived to offer assistance was Capt. Alan Sladek, who headed the Salvation Army in for seven years before being transferred to Shelbyville in July.
As part of the Salvation Army’s mobile unit to support first-responders and victims, Sladek was able to secure two rooms for the Goff family at the Super 8 Motel on Carr Hill Road, Salvation Army envoy Amy Tompkins said.
It hasn’t been determined yet how long the family will stay in temporary shelter while repairs are made at their home, Tompkins said.
Matthew Goff, 34, told investigators that he was devastated to hear that Christmas presents for his children — ages 5, 9, 11, 12 and 14 — were destroyed, Wilson said.
However, firefighters at the scene spoke to Goff about the possibility of replacing the items with the assistance of the Columbus Firemen’s Cheer Fund, which each year distributes presents to more than 1,000 children from families in need — and will do so again this year on the morning of Dec. 16.
In addition, the Salvation Army says it can also help replace presents, as well as continue to provide the family with emergency shelter and necessities, Tompkins said.
Read more in Wednesday’s print edition of The Republic.