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Detroit teachers step up to help student who lost everything in house fire

Tanya Eppinger and her family lived inside their home on Detroit’s east side for years, but recently everything changed.

“The smoke started coming outside. I was trying to get everyone out,” Eppinger recalled. “I have five kids in the house, and I was trying to get everyone out.”

Eppinger said in just minutes, fire and smoke filled the inside of her home. The cause of the fire was the dryer in the basement. Eppinger said the cost of repairs will add up to thousands.

“Most of the kids have lost their clothes and everything,” Eppinger said. “We had damage done. We will have to fix a lot of the electrical stuff.”

Unfortunately, money has been tight for the family.

“It’s overwhelming. I just got laid off a couple of months ago. And with this going on, we’re just trying to making everything come back together for the kids,” Eppinger said. “Overall, I’m just blessed and grateful that no one was hurt.”

When Wanda Olugbala, a teacher at University Preparatory Art and Design High School, heard about what happened, she knew they had do to more.

“We do it because we care. Our intention was to make sure everyone was safe and sound and if there were things that we needed, then we could offer it as a school,” Olugbala said. “We could be able to provide those things. What we’re learning is that over the course of this year is that all we really have is one another.”

Teachers and staff members started a fundraiser for the family. The family’s church, Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church, is also collecting items for the family.

A GoFundMe has been set up by Tanya Eppinger. You can donate here.


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