Reporting Reg Chapman
MORA, Minn. (WCCO) — We’re learning more about a father and son who were killed when the quad plex they live in caught fire on Thursday.
Coleman Caley, 12, and his dad, Michael, couldn’t make it out of the burning apartment. Neither did 68-year-old Shirley Norling.
Another woman was able to make it out but is still in the hospital. She is in fair condition at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, and fire officials said they still don’t know how the fire started.
Coleman Caley was a sixth grader at Trailview Elementary School in Mora. The hallways inside the school were quieter than usual Friday. Grief counselors and clergy were on hand to help students and staff deal with the loss of Coleman Caley.
Students spent Friday writing messages to Coleman and his family. His desk and locker were filled with notes that spoke of how much his smile and his jokes would be missed.
“He would often times try to beat the bus home on his bike, so that shows that type of humor,” said Nicole Laven, the principal at Trailview Elementary School.
The community is already coming together for those who were affected by the fire. Lakes and Pine Community Action is accepting donations, and Director Bob Benes, a close friend of Michael Caley’s, said this tragedy has struck the hearts of everyone in town.
“As it turns out I am a lion and Michael was a lion as well. We were both very active, so it impacts each individual in the community,” Benes said.
Benes said Michael Caley was a guy with a great sense of humor who everyone loved to be around.
“He was very dedicated to his family. I know he was very dedicated to the community,” Benes said.
Now this community is working together to help Michael Caley’s daughter, who lost her father and brother Thursday, and her mom three years ago, to make sure she has a place to call home.
Coleman Caley’s sister is a seventh grader at an intermediate school in Mora. She is now being taken care of by members of her church family. The Kanabec County Sheriff’s Office said the cause of the fire remains under investigation.