Family loses house in blaze

A Sparksville family with six children has lost their home, belongings and pets after an early morning house fire Friday.

Doug and Rose Gorbett, and their six adopted children, ranging age 5 to 17, were able to escape with no major injuries and are now staying with Rose Gorbett’s mother in a one-bedroom home.

The family is in immediate need of basic items including clothing, toiletries and food, and also will need financial donations to rebuild their home in the future.

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Rose Gorbett said Friday morning everyone was asleep at the home at 5746 S. County Road 1100W, southwest of Medora, when her daughter alerted them of the fire.

“She came running into our room yelling that her room was on fire, so we jumped up and started going from room to room to get all the kids out,” she said. “We all ran out with no shoes or coats.”

Gorbett was unable to find the keys to their GMC Envoy, so they packed into her smaller car and drove to a neighbor’s house.

“Our neighbors let my kids come in to stay warm and gave my older girls warmer clothes,” she said.

After going back to the house, Gorbett said her Envoy was damaged and a motorcycle that had been on the front porch was destroyed too.

Although the kids are physically doing OK, Gorbett said emotionally they are suffering, mainly because of the loss of their pets, including two marmoset monkeys, two sugar gliders, a guinea pig, two chihuahuas, a Yorkie and a Morkie, which is a cross between a Yorkshire terrier and a Maltese.

They are still missing a 7-month old Great Dane named Star they believe got out of the house and is running loose.

“They have cried over the pets, but they understand we only had enough time to get them out,” Rose Gorbett said of her children.

Carr Township Fire Chief Joe Barnes said the house was fully engulfed when dispatchers received the call about the fire at 12:11 a.m. Friday.

“He told us he tried to put it out before calling and it just took off,” Barnes said of Doug Gorbett’s efforts to extinguish the fire on his own.

The family was out of the house by the time firefighters arrived, and they didn’t have any injuries, Barnes said. None of the firefighters battling the blaze were hurt either, Barnes added. Firefighters from Brownstown, Driftwood and Owen townships assisted by providing water and fighting the fire at times.

“That (a lack of water) and the cold temperatures were the biggest problems,” Barnes said of putting out the fire. The last firefighters left the scene at about 4 a.m.

Barnes said firefighters were unable to determine the cause of the fire, because the house and all its contents were destroyed.

“They didn’t have any insurance,” he said. “So there’s no need to call the State Fire Marshal’s Office. It’s not suspicious. They lost everything.”

He said local firefighters were going to try to establish several avenues for people to help the family recover. The Gorbetts also are currently looking for a place to rent.

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Donations of clothing to help the Gorbett family may be left in the lobby of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department at 150 E. State Road 250, Brownstown. The lobby is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The older girls are sizes 3-7 in pants and small, medium and large shirts and size 8 in shoes. The boy is size 14 pants and large shirts or small in men’s and size 7 shoes and the youngest girl is size 6 in clothes and a 12 in shoes.

Monetary donations may be taken to State Bank of Medora, 24 E. Main St.