Support flows in for family that lost home

CHASSELL – The support Andrea Aho has received after her house burned down in Chassell has been almost as overwhelming as the loss.

“I just find myself in pools of tears every morning, because people are doing so much,” she said.

There were no major injuries in the Sunday night fire, although a firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation. However, the Ahos lost nearly all their possessions in the fire.

A page for the Ahos on Gofundme, an online crowdfunding site, has raised more than $8,000 of the $10,000 goal in two days. Andrea and Allan Aho’s sister-in-law, Monica Aho, set up the page. A physical therapist, she got the idea from one of her patients. She initially set the goal at $5,000, but doubled it as donations kept racing in and the scope of needs become more apparent.

“I didn’t know what to put (for a goal),” she said. “I thought it would be enough to get them on their feet again.”

Monica Aho said she is “floored” by the support.

“People want to help,” she said. “The generosity in this community is overwhelming.”

Pigs-n-Heat provided donations. The Moyle family put the Ahos up in temporary quarters. Fraternities and sororities are doing clothes drives. Keweenaw Country Store donated feed for the Ahos’ chickens.

Rhythm and Mont Ripley, where Andrea’s daughter is a ski instructor, donated new ski equipment to replace what she lost in the fire.

The Ahos had lived in the house since 2002. Andrea said they do not know for sure yet if they will rebuild. She hopes to rebuild her chocolatier business, which she started with money her parents had set aside in their wills for her dream without telling her. She had launched the business in 2014.

“There was so much in the shop, I wouldn’t know where to start,” she said. “I know what I’d like to do, but I don’t know if that’s what I’m supposed to do.”

Some of Andrea’s customers are rallying to the rescue. One of the donations came from a customer of hers from Baltimore.

“How did they even find out?” she said. “They’re from Baltimore.”

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