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Somerset family's home lost in New Year's Day fire

Kim Tobish (right) poses with her sons Anthony, 6, and Darian, 16, in front of their trailer home that was destroyed in a New Year’s Day fire. (Photo by Micheal Foley)

The new year is off to a somber start for one Somerset family.

A single mother and her two children lost just about everything they owned, including the family cat, in a trailer home fire just off Highway 35 north of Somerset in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Jan. 1.

Kim Tobish was out with friends in Hudson celebrating the new year while her 16-year-old son Darian and his two teenage cousins looked after his 6-year-old brother Anthony.

An unattended candle in the bathroom is believed to have started the fire. The blaze was discovered when one of the boys awoke to use the bathroom.

“He ran into my son’s room and said, ‘The bathroom’s on fire,’” Kim said. “They grabbed my youngest and brought him outside. Then, the boys tried to put it out, but it was just out of control.”

Emergency personnel were dispatched at 4:27 a.m.

According to the official report filed by Somerset Assistant Fire Chief Jason Crotty, flames were already shooting out of two sides of the structure when he arrived on the scene.

Meanwhile, Kim was asleep in Hudson still unaware of the chaos her sons and nephews were experiencing at home.

“I got a frantic call from my son, and my dad,” Kim said. “I was scared. I was numb. I didn’t know how bad it was going to be. I didn’t know anything.”

By the time Kim arrived, firefighters were on the scene and in the process of putting out the fire, so she couldn’t drive all the way up to the trailer.

“When I saw it, the whole bathroom area was in flames,” Kim said. “The whole back end of my trailer was completely gone, the walls and everything. It was all my stuff — everything I worked so hard for — just gone, but I’m thankful I have my kids.”

Soon, it dawned on her that what she was wearing and the few things in her car were all she had left.

“After everything was said and done when the fire was put out, we had to wait a few hours before we went back in there, and there was just nothing,” Kim said. “Everything is just gone.”

The American Red Cross provided for immediate needs by putting up the family in a hotel for three days, and providing funds for them to buy some essentials.

“Friends and family started up the Tobish Fire Fund at RCU banks in Somerset and New Richmond to help out with money and donations,” Kim said.

Word has also spread on Facebook.

“We’re getting so much help, clothing-wise and shoes and jackets and blankets and towels — everything to start up fresh,” Kim said. “We’ve gotten a lot of support. It’s very overwhelming how supportive and generous people are. It makes me cry thinking about it, because it’s so awesome.”

Friends of the family are currently planning to hold a benefit for the family in the coming weeks, according to Kim.

Despite the outpouring of support, the Tobish family still has a lot of needs. Kim, Darian and Anthony are now staying with Kim’s father Tom, who lives in the same trailer park just around the corner from where their burned out trailer still sits.

“We have to get this trailer out of here, because it’s just an open wound,” Kim said. “That’s going to be the biggest challenge. Once that’s out, I’m going to save up everything I have and with donations and trying to find another trailer to pull in there.”

Those interested in donating to the Tobish Fire Fund can write checks to Kimberly Tobish and mail them to Royal Credit Union at 115 Parent St., Somerset, WI 54025 or 355 S Knowles Ave, New Richmond, WI 54017. Funds can also be dropped off in person at either bank.

Micheal Foley
Micheal Foley worked at RiverTown Multimedia from July 2013 to June 2015 as editor at the New Richmond News. 
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