Fundraiser helps Coventry family torn apart by deadly fire

By John Krinjak


Twitter: @johnkrinjakABC6

COVENTRY, R.I. (WLNE) — It was a busy Thursday night at the Applebee’s in Coventry. An all-day "Dining to Donate event raised money for the Lorenzen family, which was torn apart by a deadly fire.

"It’s so great. I don’t even know what to say about it. It’s a little overwhelming, the support that I’ve been getting. It means a lot to us," said Kellie Lorenzen, mother of 4-year-old Michael Lorenzen, who died in the fire along with his father, 47-year-old Edward Lorenzen. 

It’s been nearly four weeks since flames tore through their Colonial Road home last month.

Two other children, 13-year-old Zacheri and two-year-old Penny, managed to make it out.

Their mother Kellie is now raising them by herself. 

"As soon as the news story came out, I immediately called her and let her know that I wanted to put one on if that was okay with her, that I’d take care of all the details," said Applebee’s manager Lorien Baker. 

15% of every bill Thursday went to the family. Teachers, former classmates, teammates, even strangers turned out to lend a hand.

"We tried to get as many people as we could to help gather the money for this family that’s going through obviously a hard time," said Daniel Rice, a member of the Exeter-West Greenwich basketball team. 

"Knowing how much people care and knowing how much Michael meant to people, they still recognize what a bright light he was wherever he went. That means a lot to me to hear that, and to know," said Kellie Lorenzen.

This isn’t the only way the community has stepped up. A "food train" brings hot meals to the family each night. . There’s even been a fundraiser for the Johnston-based autism project, which provided help to Michael. 

"I mean stunning is a great word for it, because it’s just so overwhelmingly good and joyful. It’s such a tragedy but there’s so much community and love that’s come out of it," said family friend Jessamy Lebeau.

A YouCaring page has been set up to help the family, as well as an educational fund for Zacheri and Penny. 

Another fundraiser will be going on at the same Applebee’s on Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

©WLNE-TV / ABC6 2018