Totowa community steps in to help after family loses home and pets in fire

Toni Yates Image
Friday, March 10, 2023
Community steps in to help after family loses home, pets in fire
A community in Totowa, New Jersey is coming to the aid of Tara and Mike Martinez after a fire destroyed their home and killed their pets. Toni Yates has the story.

TOTOWA, New Jersey (WABC) -- A community in New Jersey is coming to the aid of neighbors in need after a fire destroyed their home and killed their pets.

It has been just six days since a fire changed the lives of Tara and Michael Martinez.

"We left the house in the morning to go do our income taxes with the clothes on our back and then came back to a phone call saying your house might be on fire, I'm like no way," Tara said.

No one was home at the time to rescue their four cats and three dogs.

That is where their angel, Alexis Alvino, stepped in to help.

Alvino was the groomer for one of their dogs at Paw Couture Pet Grooming. She knew their boxers and cats and said what happened is devastating and heartbreaking.

So she turned her attention to the family and started seeking donations to get them back on their feet.

The response has been overwhelming and piles have been building for days.

"I'm dressed by donation, literally everything except for my sneakers, I'm dressed by donation," Michael said.

The family volunteers for the local Police Athletic League. Tara oversaw cheerleading for three years and Michael still coaches basketball.

Just three days after he lost his home and pets, he was at a game with his players because he didn't want to let them down.

They are now set with boxes and bags of clothing and a GoFundMe has been set up for them too.

Now Alexis and Roxy are collecting gift cards at Paw Couture, at 60A Main St. in Totowa, to help replace household items and furniture as the family now looks for a house to rent.

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