GREENFIELD — As firefighters continue to investigate the cause of Tuesday night’s fatal fire, community members have rallied around a Greenfield family that lost one of its own.
Friends and family of Tina Klare, 66, who died in the blaze, were partnering Wednesday with area churches and aid organizations to collect donations for the survivors.
The show of support has been comforting to those still struggling to come to terms with the loss, said Keri Wiemer of Greenfield, a family friend who is helping collect clothing and other items.
“I’ve been overwhelmed,” she said. “Complete strangers have been emailing me, calling me, ‘What can we do? What can we do?’ It gives me goose bumps.”
Three people were home when the duplex in the 400 block of Warren Way caught fire around 7 p.m. Tuesday. Klare lived in the home with her sister, Malinda Beasley, and Klare’s granddaughter, Shantell Robbins, 12.
Shantell’s half-sister, Tiffany Chitwood, 16, also lives there but was out with a friend when the fire broke out.
Beasley and Shantell escaped, but investigators believe Klare was overcome by smoke before she could make it out of the home.
Neighbors rushed to help the pair while waiting for the fire department to arrive.
“I ran around to the side, and by then, you could see the fire just swirling around in there,” said neighbor Sandy Sweet, 46.
Sweet said Shantell was inconsolable and wanted to go back in the house after her grandmother.
“The little girl just kept screaming, ‘My grandma! My grandma!” Sweet said.
Beasley was not injured. On Wednesday, family members said Shantell is still receiving treatment for smoke inhalation at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis but is expected to make a full recovery.
Shantell was injured after trying to save her grandmother, who fell in the hallway of the duplex and was unable to escape, family members said.
Klare suffered from fibromyalgia and used a cane because she had difficulty walking. She had been in declining health for many years, Klare’s niece, Candice Beasley, said Wednesday.
Klare lived in Florida for most of her life and moved back to Greenfield to be near family several years ago after her husband died.
She adopted Shantell, her biological granddaughter, when the girl was young and treated her just like a daughter, Candice Beasley said.
Klare attended The Bridge Church in Indianapolis. Before she became ill, she was an artist who enjoyed painting and making her own jewelry.
“That was one was one of her lifelong passions and something she was very good at,” Candice Beasley said.
Firefighters arrived within minutes of the home catching fire, but by that time, it already was engulfed in flames. Klare was pronounced dead at the scene after firefighters quelled the blaze and were able to go inside.
The home is a duplex, and the family living on the west side escaped, unharmed. Their side was not damaged, but the east part of the building was destroyed.
“We don’t have anything,” said Tiffany, a junior at Greenfield-Central High School. “There’s nothing left.”
Wiemer has been in contact with the American Red Cross, as well as officials at Tiffany’s school, and both have agreed to assist in the fundraising and collection efforts. Shantell was home-schooled.
Wiemer said she continues to field calls from those wanting to do something for the family.
“I’ve gotten lots of responses today with clothes and things like that,” said Wiemer, whose daughter goes to school with Tiffany. “You don’t realize how kind people are until something like this happens.”