Strangers help Milwaukee family, no natural gas after storms

They asked for help, and you answered. FOX6 News told you about a family forced to live without natural gas after severe weather devastated their home in August. A giant tree fell on their home, and the day after we aired their story, dozens of people came out to clean it up on Wednesday, Sept. 15. Better yet, We Energies said natural gas service was restored.

The Kates family woke up Wednesday morning to a huge group of people with chainsaws happy to get to work.

"I thank God," said Lutisha Kates, homeowner. "I feel so good.

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There might be no sound sweeter than the roar of chainsaws outside of the Kates family home.

"I haven’t seen the sidewalk," said Kates. "I haven’t seen this maybe in a month and five days."

Dozens of neighbors near 13th and Burleigh came together to clean up the mess Mother Nature left behind.

"When you put that heart and mind together, you’d be surprised what the strength of the body is capable of," said Jay Hayes, neighbor.

They heard Kates' plea for help on FOX6 News tuesday night. In August, lightning struck a huge tree in the yard. Part of it fell on the home, piercing the roof, knocking down two porches and toppling on top of two gas meters.

Until Wednesday, the tree had been sitting since August. The natural gas was shut off for more than month.

"You don’t know how much you miss something until it’s gone," said Hayes.

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The family couldn't pay to get the tree removed, so strangers and neighbors got together to fix the problem.

"They’re a part of the community," said Rick Smith, neighbor. "We all got to help each other.

"We surveyed the damage and did what we knew best, came together as a community with our tools and got it up off her house," said Hayes. 

The family, desperate for help, said they're grateful their prayers were answered.

"Yes. It's a miracle. It’s a miracle," said Kates. "It’s a blessing from God.

In the meantime, a We Energies spokesman issued this statement to FOX6 News Wednesday night:

"Thanks for the hard work by neighbors and volunteers that removed the debris around the home, our crews were able to rebuild the natural gas meters and restore service to the home tonight. Our crews also stayed to help restart their natural gas appliances." 

The family is still looking for help moving all that wood from their yard. They also need help with damage to the home. They set up a account to help raise money for repairs.