The devastating fire experienced by the Cords family, of Rushford, has brought a community to its feet in support of the family. The house fire at 1086 Dump Hill Road, two miles east of Rushford, resulted in a complete loss of the home and significant injuries to the family of six, despite fire response arriving in just minutes. Miraculously, the family was able to get out of the structure prior to crews arriving.
The official press release from Houston County Sheriff Mark Inglett indicates the fire is currently under investigation by the Minnesota State Fire Marshal and the Houston County Sheriff’s Office. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined. Houston Fire Department, Houston Ambulance, Rushford Fire Department, Rushford Ambulance, Tri-State Ambulance, Gundersen Air Helicopter, Winona Ambulance, Houston County Sheriff’s Office and Houston Police Department all assisted with the fire.
Reports of the fire have widely detailed the heroic actions of Jared Cords, after being awoken by his wife Erin, after midnight on October 31. Cords managed to get his daughters Ravyn (7), Teagan (5), and Peyton (3) out, but all four suffered burns. Domanic, 15, who is the couple’s “unofficial son,” jumped from a second story window. Both he and Erin, who was 25-weeks pregnant with the couple’s first son, also sustained injuries. They were transported to and treated at Gundersen Hospital. The girls were first transferred to Gundersen Hospital, La Crosse, Wis., and Winona Health Hospital prior to being transferred, via Mayo One, to Regions Hospital, St. Paul. Gundersen Air transported Jared to Regions Hospital immediately with serious injuries.
Within hours of news of the fire, requests for prayers, fundraising efforts, donation information, and details of the event began pouring in over social media. By the next day, family had set up a communication page thanking the community for the outpouring of love and support. Family updates have shown their incredible resilience and positivity, despite the injuries and trauma.
There is a months-long recovery ahead for the family. The youngest of the girls, Peyton, underwent lengthy surgery November 1. Determinations are yet to be made on treatment going forward. “The hardest part I have learned about burn patients is as soon as you think the girls are on an upward swing, they take two steps back,” wrote the girls’ aunt, Jen Hatlevig on the family’s Facebook page. “Staying positive and strong is key when things start tugging on your heart strings. The other thing I have learned is with burn patients, infections can happen so easily which is why things can change so frequently.”
While still recovering from extensive burns and the trauma of the event, Teagan and Ravyn have been moved from Intensive Care to Progressive, within the burn unit, and were able to visit with family. Both have experienced setbacks, but family reports are encouraging. Jared was discharged from the hospital on November 3, but is continuing to stay on the Burn Unit floor. Erin and her unborn son continue to stay healthy and Domanic is staying with family.
The support of the family has also been nothing short of amazing. By this past Thursday, more than $27,193 had been donated via the “Jared and Erin Cords Family Relief Fund” Facebook fundraiser and an additional $8,505 on GoFundMe.
If you would like to support the family, you can donate directly on the “Cords Family Fund” Facebook page, the “Jared & Erin Cords Family Fire Fund” on GoFundMe, or at Rushford State Bank: Jared Cords, C/O Rushford State Bank, P.O. Box 648, Rushford, Minn. 55971. The bank is accepting monetary donations as well as gift cards and certificates. A number of local businesses and independent business consultants are sponsoring fundraising drives for the family as well.
Clothing and small household items drop-off location is at Evan and Shannon Meier’s Rushford home, 44959 Plummer Street. There they’ll collect, wash, sort and store items for the children. Currently, the family is asking for gift cards for clothing as sizes will be changing as the clothes fit over dressings while they recover in the burn unit. A list of additional needed items are on the family Facebook page.
Additional community fundraisers have been set up.
Biscuit & Gravy Breakfast, with freewill donation, is to be held Sunday, November 10, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., at the Rushford American Legion.
“Because We Care” cheeseburgers for the Cord Family, on Saturday, November 16, from 12-6 p.m. at the B&B Bowl in Preston. Serving cheeseburgers, tots and beverage for $12. All proceeds will go to the Cords family.
Rushford American Legion on Saturday, November 30. It will feature food service beginning at 5 p.m. (until gone), a silent auction from 5-7:30 p.m., a live auction from 7-10 p.m., as well as a DJ and dancing. Donations for the auction can be dropped off at the Rushford American Legion or the Jordy Graham American Family Insurance office in Rushford. T-shirts for the family benefit bearing the slogan, “Some heroes wear flannel,” are also being sold to raise funds. More information can be found on the family’s page.