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Gofundme page set up for elderly Morris County man who lost everything in mobile home fire

JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP, NJ (Morris County) – After a fire destroys a mobile home in Jefferson Township last month, a GoFundMe page is started to help the elderly man.

According to the GoFundMe page created this week by Sharon Sutton Leek, Jim Kolessar, who moved to the Sandy Point Mobile Home Park in the Lake Hopatcong section of Jefferson Township in 1995, lost everything in a fire on Tuesday, May 18.

“Jim is in his 70’s now and has been a self employed dry cleaning delivery service man up until the Covid-19 pandemic struck. With the onset of the pandemic Jim found himself with little work and struggling to make ends meet. With little more than social security for an income Jim made the unfortunate choice to let his homeowners policy lapse,” Leeks wrote.

On Tuesday, May 18, at around 6:20 a.m., Jim awoke to a loud noise on his front porch. Jim went to his front door to see what had happened. When he opened the front door he saw the flames and felt the heat of the extreme fire. He quickly slammed the door and ran to the back of his trailer to escape through the back door. Jim was able to get out just in time before his entire home was engulfed in flames. He ran to his driveway and moved his car to safety. Neighbors awoke to the same noise and acted quickly calling 911, according to Leeks.

“Jim was lucky to survive but he lost everything. His trailer was completely destroyed along with all his belongings. Some neighbors have helped Jim with immediate essentials like clothing, toiletries and meals,” Leeks wrote.

He is currently living out of his car and sleeping on the neighbors couch, according to Leeks.

“Because Jim didn’t have homeowners insurance the neighbors and community have  donated to the clean-up effort on his behalf with the removal of the fire damaged trailer completed at no cost to Jim,” Leeks wrote.

“Unfortunately there are new Federal guidelines for construction and inspections of new trailers from the factory that make the cost of a trailer no longer a very affordable option for people of minimal means . With some of Jim’s savings, volunteers and through this Gofundme we hope to be able to raise enough money to help Jim  rebuild his home and stay here in the community he knows and loves. Please if you can help in any way it would be greatly appreciated. Every contribution helps no matter how small. Times are tough and the pandemic has many of us doing what we can to get by,” Leeks wrote

The page is hoping to raise $30,000 for the elderly man. To donate, click here.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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