Mentor family thanks fire department for heroic actions after car trapped man, two kids

MENTOR, Ohio - A Mentor family got their chance to thank fire department members after a car crashed into their house before the holidays.

It was a warm welcoming and reunion held Thursday inside the garage of the Mentor Fire Department headquarters on Civic Center Boulevard.

Emergency response crews all gathered to welcome the family of four, which just one month and one day ago were victims of a vehicle crashing into their home. The driver was allegedly drunk at the time. 

Chris Lukasiewicz, his 3-year-old and 18-month-old were all trapped underneath the vehicle. 

"These firefighters are amazing," said mom, Tonya Blare. She said that if it wasn't for the Mentor Fire Department's quick actions her family would not be alive today.

"I want the community to know they've done something that I thought was impossible. They actually got a car that was so heavy off of me and my son, and they actually went over the car to get my daughter out as well… They're phenomenal," Lukasiewicz said.

For firefighters, this was the first time they got to speak to the family since the Dec. 9 incident. 

"We got into you to lift you up over the car and you were talking to us, and then you got quiet and that's when I really got concerned about you," firefighter Jerry Craddock said. He was one of the first on scene.

"Bringing those two little kids out from underneath the car and then seeing them how they are today… It's wonderful it's nice to see a good outcome as this," Craddock said.

Firefighters also gave the family a tour and hoisted 3-year-old Chris Jr. into several vehicles, letting him put his hands on the steering wheel.

The family is happy and mobile again, but there's still a long road to recovery ahead. Chris Sr. said he's already undergone at least three surgeries and toddler had even more.

Surprising the family once more, the Mentor Fire Department gave the family gift cards and donated clothing items Thursday. There's also a fundraiser in the works, being planned by close friends and family.

That fundraiser is planned for LaMalfa on Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m. Advanced tickets are being sold for $45, $50 at the door. Anyone interested is asked to call 440-221-8606.

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