Community ‘recreates Christmas’ for Corbett fire victims

Caroline and Harley Leesi's home burned down on December 10

Caroline and Harley Leesi with Caroline's daughter Clarissa Applestill, December 24, 2016. (KOIN)

CORBETT, Ore. (KOIN) — A Corbett couple who lost their home in a fire in early December said they have been overwhelmed by all of the community members who have stepped up to help make life a little easier for them this Christmas.

Caroline and Harley Leesi’s home burned down on December 10.

Caroline and Harley Leesi lost their home in a fire on December 10, 2016. (Courtesy photo)
Caroline and Harley Leesi lost their home in a fire on December 10, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

“I lit an oil lamp that was given to me as a gift… I heard a pop and I looked up and the porch was on fire,” Caroline told KOIN 6 News.

Before she knew it, Caroline said the house she had lived in for just 3 months was engulfed in flames.

The Leesis lost everything in the fire, including 2 of their 3 cats and $700 worth of Christmas gifts that Caroline had already bought for her daughter and grandson.

But just when it seemed like things couldn’t get any worse, the community stepped in to help. Corbett resident Holly McCowen was just one of the people who took it upon themselves to raise money and collect donations for the family.

“So many people had so many things to offer,” McCowen said. “I happen to have the time and I happen to know the people and I was able to coordinate.”

Corbett resident Holly McCowen and her daughter Mallory delivered gifts and donations to the Leesis on Christmas Eve. (KOIN)
Corbett resident Holly McCowen and her daughter Mallory delivered gifts and donations to the Leesis on Christmas Eve. (KOIN)

On Christmas Eve, McCowen delivered replacement Christmas gifts to Caroline and Harley, in addition to other essentials like clothes, boots, home supplies and cat food.

“It’s lovely to be in a position to pay it forward, [but] it’s the community that’s the superstar,” McCowen said. “I hope it brings some peace and joy.”

Donations for the Leesis can be left at Corbett Country Market, Big Bears Market and Springdale Tavern.

To donate to their GoFundMe page, click here.