Maple Grove Family Finds Community Support After House Fire
Sep 13, 2016 04:35PM
● By Wendy Erlien
Gennadiy and Viktoriya Yakovlev (left) with neighbors Allyson and Chris Lindstrom. (photo by Wendy Erlien)
It was nearly three weeks ago on Aug. 24 when Yakovlev family lost their home during a fire.
After a tragedy that left their family without a home, vehicles, and
personal belongings, neighbors and community members continue to pull together to let the
family know they are not alone.
For approximately 12 years, Gennadiy and Viktoriya Yakovlev have called the city of Maple Grove their home. It was about six years ago when the couple and their two daughters moved into their new home on the 7000 block of Garland Avenue in Maple Grove.
The evening of Aug. 24
started rather routinely. Gennadiy recalls coming home from work, doing
yard work, and eating dinner that evening. Afterward, he, Viktoriya and one of
his daughters decided to head to the store for school supplies and groceries. Their other daughter, Maria, opted to stay
home while the family ran errands.
It was while they were at the
store, Gennadiy received a call – their house was on fire.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Gennadiy said. “I asked, ‘where is Maria’?” He was told his daughter was safe.
“We dropped everything and ran out of the store,” he said. Upon
arriving home, Gennadiy recalled seeing the fire, smoke, “tons of people” and
the fire department working on the blaze.
“It was a terrifying moment,” he said. “That night was real terrible.
Everybody was in shock. We keep rewinding it to that moment. We were so blessed
nothing happened to our daughter. The rest can be fixed.”
Her parents, along with neighbors Allyson and Chris Lindstrom,
commended Maria on her bravery.
“She said she heard something ‘pop’ in the garage and she thought it
might be someone trying to break in, so she ran away and went to a neighbor,”
Neighbor Chris Lindstrom recalled the events of the evening.
“I was sitting in the garage. The first thing I noticed was the smell,”
he said. “Then I heard the smoke detectors going off.”
He followed the sound which brought him to the Yakovlev home where
he saw another neighbor with their daughter. Concerned that others might still be in the
house, Chris and another neighbor knocked on the door and ended up going into
the house through the sliding glass doors.
“I thought maybe something was burning in the oven. You could see a
light haze in the house,” Chris said. They went through each room, ending up
at the garage. The door wasn’t warm, so they opened it and a cloud of black
smoke came out. Closing the door, they
went back outside, looked through a garage window and could see a small fire in the garage.
“I ran off back to my house and grabbed two fire extinguishers,” Chris
said. “By the time I got back, the whole front of the garage was on fire. It went so fast.”
In the meantime, their neighbor had called 911 and Chris had called
Gennadiy. Emergency responders from the Maple Grove Police and Fire Department
arrived at the home about 8:30 p.m.
Initially, Maple Grove Fire Stations four and five were dispatched. "They immediately asked for two more stations.
Eventually all fire were either working at the scene or standing by to cover
the rest of the city," Maple Grove Fire Chief Scott Anderson said.
"There were at least 50 firefighters there."
In the aftermath of the fire, several neighbors invited the family to
stay with them. For the next two weeks,
Gennadiy, Viktoriya and their daughters stayed with Allyson and Chris
After the Fire
The cause of the fire “is officially being called undetermined,” according Maple Grove Fire Department Deputy Chief Marilyn Arnlund, who indicated there were several items charging or plugged in where the fire originated and “…we and the insurance investigator were not able to say that any one of the items absolutely caused the fire.”
Nearly three weeks later, the family is awaiting a final
determination from their insurance company on whether portions of the home will
be saved or if it will be a complete rebuild.
“We can’t do much,” Gennadiy said.
After living with the Lindstrom family for several weeks, the Yakovlev family has temporarily moved into a nearby rental home while they wait. In the
meantime, life after fire has been an adjustment.
“When we moved [to the rental], it has been a bit of empty space,”
Gennadiy said. “There were no books, toys – they [daughters] have been a little
stressed. But, it’s not as bad as it could be.”
“So many neighbors, friends have helped us out,” Gennadiy said, stating
they have the basics. “We’re two working people – so, we’re just trying to get
back on track from where we were two weeks ago. It’s not easy, but we’re
Friends and community members have rallied to help the family.
“Even people we didn’t know were offering us a place to stay,”
Viktoriya said. “We are surrounded by such great, wonderful people - we are so
“People have been so great in our neighborhood, in our community. It’s
been unbelievable,” Gennadiy said.
How to Help
“One of the first things you think about when something as overwhelming and devastating like this happens to your friends is what you can do,” Allyson said. As the fire was happening that evening, Allyson and other neighbors talked about how they could provide help. To help raise funds for the family, Allyson setup a GoFundMe page. Since then, support has come in from neighborhood, community, and even out of state.
“It just seemed like a way it could fit any of their needs and didn’t
require them to think about what they needed at the moment,” she said. “We know
there are a lot of people that want to help and don’t know how. This is a
simple way to do it.”
“Thank you so much for your help in assisting this family through this
horrible incident. I know they will be so very grateful” Allyson wrote on the Go Fund Me page.