MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A family, still working through the pain of a deadly house fire, is getting support in ways they never expected.
Services were held Tuesday for 1-year-old Spencer Parker and 2-year-old-Landon Parker, as well as their father, Anthony Parker. Investigators believe Anthony started the fire.
Two more children who were in the home survived. Both were recently released from the hospital with only one of them suffering burns to his arm.
“This is a family of ours and we view them as part of our family, and it’s important to provide that support,” said Darren Kern, principal at Independence Elementary School in Big Lake.
One of the surviving children attends the school, while the other attends Liberty Elementary. Classmates at both wrote them get-well cards as they recovered in the hospital.
“And our very nice sign that one of our adults made and all the staff signed that for them, that went there as well,” Kern said.
While words can provide comfort, a local business found another way. A family friend went to Becker Furniture World in search of new beds for the children who lost theirs in the fire.
“Your hearts just pour out to these people, so anything that you can do to help them out and fill that gap is what we want to do,” said Phil Knutson, executive vice president of Becker Furniture World.
The store ended up giving the family two new beds for free.
“Something this tragic, there was just a need that without hesitation you just take care of it,” Knutson said.
He says the company regularly works with social service agencies in Sherburne and Hennepin counties to help families in need of furniture.
Relatives said those two acts of kindness are just the tip of the iceberg as to how much support they’ve felt in the community. A clothing store donated dress wear for the surviving kids to wear to the funeral services for their younger siblings. Strangers have donated toys, bedding and more. The GoFundMe page for the family has raised more than $26,000 as of Tuesday night.
Kern said shouldering the grief for the family will continue as long as necessary.
“Not just today and tomorrow, but in the weeks and months to come, because that need will continue for a long time,” Kern said.