BURLINGTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A West Michigan community is rallying around a family devastated by a fire that killed a 7-year-old Calhoun County boy and left his parents severely burned in a Kalamazoo hospital.
Harley Gibson, 62, and his wife Jackie, 48, have been medically sedated since the fire completely destroyed their home in the early morning hours on Oct. 13 and do not yet know that their little boy, Jack, died in the fire.
"He was a smart little boy," said the Gibson's daughter-in-law Amber Miller. "He always wanted to make sure everyone was included."
The Gibson's 6-year-old daughter Shayan also was burned but is expected to make a full recovery. The family also lost all of their pets.
Miller has not left the hospital since the day of the fire and has been splitting her time between her parent's bedside in the burn unit and the room where her niece is recovering.
"I know that being upstairs with Shayan is where Mom would want me to be. She wouldn't want her to be alone," says Miller. "As a mom myself I couldn't leave her by herself when her parents are down here fighting for their life."
Miller says the tragedy and loss her family has suffered is unimaginable but the outpouring of donations, love and support from family, friends and the community has helped her get through each day.
"It's overwhelming in a good way because you always hear about all the bad stuff and this is such a terrible situation," Miller said. "So many people are opening up their hearts to help people that they probably have never met and it has definitely restored my faith in humanity."
A donation center has been set up in the lobby of the Tekonsha Elementary School, and cash donations are being made to help pay for medical and funeral costs through Lighthouse Funeral and Cremation Services and a Spaghetti dinner fundraiser is planned next month.
"The community has been wonderful," Miller said. "I have hundreds of messages on my phone. People are just you know how can we help, what can we do?"
Miller says every bit of good news from the doctors helps lift her spirits in what has been a sad time for her family. More than anything, she wants to thank everyone who has reached out to help.
"I know that when Mom and Dad wake up they are going to be so proud of the community they decided to call home."
Miller said 6-year-old Shayan is doing well and could be released from the hospital soon. Her parents meantime are making small gains despite unimaginable burns.
"I know that they are sedated, but I talk to them and hope that they can hear me and I keep reassuring them that Shayan is fine and I need them to fight," Miller told FOX 17.
Here is how you can help the Gibson family:
Tekonsha Elementary School
327 Catherine Street, Tekonsha
SPAGHETTI DINNER FUNDRAISER
November 9th 1-4 pm
The Bucket - 104 Coldwater Street, Union City
For more information click here for the Burlington Township Fire and Rescue Facebook page.