A Hialeah family who lost everything in a house fire has cause to celebrate.
When the Ferrer family contacted NBC 6 Responds a little over a year ago, our team tried to get them assistance through a Hialeah program, but that city said they didn’t qualify. Not knowing what else could be done, NBC 6 shared their story with our viewers and a flood of kind-hearted people came out to make a difference.
Jose and Delsy Ferrer had just finished paying off their home when a fire took everything away in September of 2018. The elderly couple's Hialeah home was uninsured and now deemed uninhabitable. They had no way of rebuilding until then Broward mayor Mark Bogen heard them asking NBC 6 viewers for a miracle.
"When I watched your story in February 2019 it was such a compelling story of people that needed help…you just touched something and I just know there’s enough people and companies out there that are willing to give back,” Bogen said.
Bogen began contacting everyone he knew including the president of the Florida Panthers and by July they had raised over $50,000 and gathered a small army of kind-hearted contractors, engineers and architects willing to donate their services.
Since then, crews have worked around the clock to rebuild the home as only two walls were able to be salvaged. This past Saturday, City Furniture put the finishing touches by donating all the furnishings. Days later, the Ferrers were able to return home to a brand-new house.
As Delsy arrived home, she couldn’t contain her emotions. For the first time in a long time, she had happy tears, blessings and air kisses for everyone who made this possible.
Representatives from the many companies who donated their services and products were on hand to welcome the Ferrer’s home.
Moss Construction, who donated their contractor services as well as labor and goods, said that everyone was quick to donate.
"When I showed them the article that you guys produced last year, that was more than enough to get buy in from everybody and everybody was calling me trying to help. I didn’t even have to go out of my way that much to get people on board,” said Hansel Marrero, assistant project manager at Moss Construction.
After the ribbon cutting, the family toured their new home and found it had been furnished.
"They didn’t really know that we were going to be coming in and doing this so to see their surprise and shock on their face was so priceless for us,” said Sabrina Maday, community relations manager for City Furniture.
“It’s absolutely a miracle," said Mark Blanchard, Vice President for AECOM, an engineering firm who donated all of their services and helped secure other donors. “I’m telling you guys from what we saw the day we walked in it was complete, black, burnt, to what this is, it’s incredible, it’s a miracle."
"They had a ton of memories that were completely wiped out in the fire and hopefully now they have a beautiful home where they can build new memories,” said Sean McCaffrey, Chief Operating Officer of The Florida Panthers, who donated $25,000 through their foundation.
Bogen also reached out to the Miami-Dade Property Appraiser, who will now be giving the Ferrers a tax break for the time the home was uninhabitable. Property Appraiser Pedro J. Garcia is also helping them get their senior exemptions, “so they can pay the less taxes possible and they can live a very beautiful life,” he said.
It is estimated that between services, products and monetary donations, over $125,000 were donated to make this homecoming possible. Jose Ferrer said he never expected people to help him this way.
"It’s beautiful, beautiful,” he said.
"People tell me I’m lucky and I tell them, 'this is not luck, this is a blessing,'" Delsy Ferrer said.