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Toledo family picking up the pieces after Tanglewood apartment fire

After the fire, the Russells lost their at-home business and had to separate from their grandfather.
Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 7:00 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The Russells are one of over a dozen families trying to pick up the pieces after losing everything in the Tanglewood Apartment fire one week ago. Renee and her husband Kashif ran a small natural health and body care supply business, called I am Renee Estella, out of their apartment.

“Overall, our lives have changed drastically, because we just don’t know where to go from here now,” says Renee Russell.

Wednesday, the Russells showed 13abc what’s left of their home: just a doorframe and some rubble. But one important thing remains -- Renee’s grandfather. He was the man rescued by a pair of Toledo Police officers that day. You can see in their bodycam footage, as they carry him downstairs to safety. The family tells 13abc they’re grateful to both officers, especially the female TPD officer who they say went above and beyond to make sure their grandfather was okay.

“I truly want to tell her thank you from the bottom of my heart,” adds Renee. “Because when I see how frantic and anxious she was to make sure my grandfather was safe and was okay, it really touched both of us last night. Because it all happened so quickly, and him being confused and having Alzheimer’s, he didn’t know what was going on, but she was trying to make sure that he was okay.”

We’re told the 85-year-old is doing just fine. Although, he had to be separated from the family, staying in a nursing home.

“That’s one of the most heart-wrenching things,” says Renee. “First with the pandemic going on, now we have to see him through a window.”

Renee, Kashif, and their 17-year-old daughter Paige are staying at a hotel for the time being. Paige is getting ready to graduate from high school, so the family is trying to get her ready to go back to school in-person, and get her ready to go to college. But through it all, the family is staying positive.

“Things are gonna get better. And that’s the first thing I want everyone to know. Because we’re staying very positive as well. Even in light of the situation, that’s the only way we can do right now. We can only stay positive. For sure I know things are going to get better for everyone.”

If you would like to help the Russell family make ends meet, you can donate on their GoFundMe page, or reach out to Renee via email.

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