Fundraiser held to benefit family of victim from Columbia City warehouse explosion

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The area’s motorcycle community is remembering one of their own who lost his life in a warehouse explosion last weekend.

“He was an amazing man, had a big personality, larger than life,” said Jasmine Sparkman of her husband Zach Sparkman. “He didn’t know a stranger.”

Christian Heritier, Associate Director of the United Motorcycle Enthusiasts, shared a similar sentiment.

“He was everyone’s friend,” Heritier said. “He was someone that would always be able to meet you with a handshake and a smile.”

The United Motorcycle Enthusiasts, a group made up of several area motorcycle clubs, gathered at the Marketplace of Cantebury to remember Zach Sparkman. Sparkman died in a warehouse explosion that happened in Columbia City on Saturday, believed to have been caused by a natural gas leak.

The clubs are now raising money to help support Sparkman’s widow and his four children as they grieve his loss.

“We’re having a spaghetti dinner along with a live auction, with the idea of letting them know that even though there was an insurmountable loss that we were here to at least ease the pain a little bit and give them a little bit of a cushion to make sure that they know that they’re not alone,” said Heritier.

For Sparkman’s widow Jasmine, the support is appreciated, although a little odd after attending so many similar events with her husband.

“Attending events, like this was something normally my husband and I did together,” Sparkman said. “That’s what this community does when there’s tragedies or good cause they come together and take care of their own and take care of the community around them. So to be on the receiving end of it. It’s very, very humbling.”

That support goes beyond just financial support, she said.

“I’ve not I’ve not cooked a meal since we lost my husband,” added Sparkman. “I’ve not cleaned my home. I’ve had people come sit with my children. I’ve had people send us groceries I’ve had someone check on us every day or come stay with us. It’s just been a truly amazing experience. As unfortunate as this is, it’s been amazing by these guys.”

According to Heritier, it was the best way they could think of to honor the memory of Sparkman.

“The thing is, is that he was a man of great honor and he was a man of great dignity, and this is something that is the least that we can do for him his memory and his family,’ Heritier said.

A GoFundMe campaign has also been set up to help the family.

*WANE.com does not assure that the monies or donations deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a donation, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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