A story of survival: Detroit father of 4 heats home with fire - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

A story of survival: Detroit father of 4 collects wood to heat home with fire

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(WJBK) -

He once found work as a butcher and a commercial roofer, but now he walks the streets of Detroit's east side trying to help his loved ones survive. Don, 53, strips wood from abandoned houses and brings it home to provide the only source of light and heat that he can afford - fire.

"The same fire that keeps us warm, feeds us," says Don. They heat water in buckets to clean the pots and pans, and themselves, too.

Don lost his job and now donates plasma twice a week.

"It's honest money, it's fair and it helps," he says. He says he's desperate to find work, but feels like he's already working again.

"It takes like a half a day to find the wood, bring it home, and it takes another half a day to, initially, cut the wood up and then create a fire," he tells Fox 2's Andrea Isom.  

VIDEO: Click on the video player above to hear more of Don's story in the report from Andrea Isom

The youngest child is 10 years old. Don says his kids are doing very well in school and have been resilient despite how they're living right now.

UPDATE: An anonymous donor has offered to pay the utility bills for the family. The heat and lights will soon be restored at the home.


Rev. W.J. Rideout will be accepting non-monetary donations, including clothing and firewood, at his All God's People Church Friday through Sunday.

All God's People Church
5201 French Road
Detroit, MI 48213

Friday, 5-7 p.m.
Saturday, Noon-3 p.m.
Sunday, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.


Female, 10: Sizes 12 for shirt and pants
Male, 14: 31 waist, 30 length, medium shirt
Female, 17: Medium shirt, size 7 bottoms
Female, 20: Medium shirt, size 7 bottoms

If you would like to make a monetary donation to Don and his family you can do so at the account set up on GiveForward.com. The account's goal was to raise $6,000 for the family. That amount was raised in about 90 minutes.

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