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Benefit fund set up Elk Mound family

ELK MOUND — A benefit fund has been set up at Independence State Bank in Elk Mound for an Elk Mound family of eight whose house was destroyed by fire March 11.

The house, located at 211 University Street, was being rented by Paula Gunderson and her seven children.

According to news reports, Gunderson’s oldest child, a 15-year-old boy, was awakened by the smoke alarm just before 2 a.m. March 11. The teenager woke up his family, escaped through a second story window, got a ladder from a neighboring house and helped the rest of his family escape to safety.

Firefighters from Elk Mound, Colfax and the Chippewa fire district responded to the scene.

Although the house was initially only partially destroyed by the fire, the blaze rekindled that night, and what was left of the house was completely destroyed.

Anyone wishing to donate money to the benefit fund for the Gunderson family at Independence State Bank can drop off donations at the bank or mail them to Independence State Bank, P.O. Box 325, Elk Mound, WI 54739. If you write a check, indicate on the memo line that the check is for “fire victims” or for the Gunderson family.

The Cornerstone Apostolic Church in Elk Mound also is accepting clothing and household items for the Gunderson family. Items may be dropped off Tuesday (March 18) or Thursday (March 20) from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The family includes three boys and four girls, ranging in ages from the 15-year-old boy down to a toddler.

The Gunderson children do not attend school in the Elk Mound school district, according to news reports.