Family loses everything in fire

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By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Editor

Family and friends are reaching out to a Williston family whose lives were rent asunder last week when a fire destroyed their home on 65th Lane.
Williston Fire Chief Lamar Stegall said the double-wide mobile home, where the Brian Means’ family lived, was totally engulfed by the time  his crew arrived. The call came to the department around 7:17 p.m. March 4.
Neighbor Irene Miller said the matriarch of the family, Betty Smith, was in the shower when she heard a large boom.
She exited the shower just in time to see the door burst into flames and began calling for help.
Joey Leppert, 17, and his brother, Jordan Leppert, 14, ran to her aid. Joey called 911 and Jordan took off his shoes to give to the woman, then ran from house to house alerting neighbors about the fire.
“They were real heroes,” Miller said Monday.
Five fire trucks responded to the fire but all was lost when the emergency teams left the scene around 10:22 p.m.
Engine 722 was first to arrive, Stegall said and was quickly backed up by two units from Bronson.
The cause of the fire is unknown and under investigation by the state fire marshal’s office.
 Miller said someone has donated the use of another mobile home so the family has temporary housing.
Now as the family struggles to recoup items necessary for living, AMVETS Post 44 is sponsoring a benefit for them Sunday, March 13 beginning at 3 p.m.
In addition to gas cards and gift cards, women’s clothing sizes 10-14 are welcomed, and men’s size 42-44.
The AMVETS post is located at 13751 52nd St., Williston.