Family grateful for love, support

David Archambeau/Daily Mining Gazette Left, flames from a sauna fire Feb. 18 engulf the Salmi family home, which was reduced to smoke and ashes.

The Salmi family, whose home was destroyed by a fire on Feb. 18, expressed its appreciation to the Copper Country community for the love and support bestowed on the family in its hour of need.

“We want to thank all of the fire departments and everybody that’s donated to us,” said Greg Salmi.

The home was occupied by the homeowner, Evald, and his son, Greg, daughter, Michele, and her 8- and 11-year-old sons.

The fire started in the sauna, which was attached to the home and not in the basement as other media reported.

Evald and Greg, were not home when the fire started, but Evald was returning home when he saw it. Michele, her children and boyfriend were inside when it started.

Evald said they were lucky to be able to call the fire department before the phone lines were cut by the fire.

“It’s total destruction,” he said. “Everything’s gone. We’re starting from day one to rebuild.”

Evald had lived there for 72 years and plans to rebuild.

“I plan to rebuild in the spring, but I can’t do anything until the snow is gone and the road restrictions are off,” said Evald.

The family has received much support from the community and others who have donated nationwide.

Greg said his brother’s wife and sister’s friends have started donation websites. One organized by Jessica Hanley on the YouCaring site has raised more than $2,800.

The South Range Eagles, of which Evald is a member, is planning a benefit dance on Sunday, March 25.

“They figured they’d have it then, when us old people don’t have to drive in the dark,” joked Evald.

The family has also received donations from Pigs N Heat and knows of another benefit that is being put together at the South Range church.

The family is currently staying in Painesdale for the next couple of weeks, with hopes of finding a new place soon.

“We’ve got to find a place. We’d like to find one in Adams (Township) School District,” said Greg, so Michele’s boys won’t be forced to change school districts.

Evald and Greg Salmi can be reached via Facebook. For those interested in donations, one of the sites is