Community coming together to help Myakka City family following deadly fire

Community coming together to help Myakka City fire victims.
Community coming together to help Myakka City fire victims.(WWSB)
Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 6:52 PM EDT
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MYAKKA CITY, Fla. (WWSB) - A tragic fire in Myakka City turned one family’s life upside down. It’s the fire that claimed the life of 65-year-old Raymond Sidney Hillstrand. His stepson, Ray, was injured and remains hospitalized. Hillstrand’s wife, Evelyn, was able to escape.

The community is starting to come together to do what they can to help. “I’ve never seen the outpouring like we’ve seen since Sunday. It has been incredible,” said Rebecca Davis, Evelyn’s niece.

From a donation box that has been set up at the local Dollar General, to a fund that’s in place through the Welcome Baptist Church in Lithia, there are numerous ways people are trying to get this family back on their feet as they mourn this great loss.

“The help right now that is most needed... will be monetary help for housing,” said Davis.

One construction company says it will handle the demolition of the home and land clearing. There’s hope that the community will come together to also rebuild the home on this property.

“Our prayer is that Evelyn and Ray can get back on their feet and our prayer is that we, as a community, will come together,” said Pastor Lynn Howell. “We always will need this community to come together and we will do whatever we have to to help them rebuild or find a place permanently.”

Donations for the family can be sent to a fund set up at the Welcome Baptist Church. A Venmo account account has been set up for the family at Rebecca-Davis-85.

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