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Superhero troupe for sick children loses gear in trailer fire

Two firefighters stand with hoses, extinguishing  the remnants of a fire from near a charred van on rural higway.
Shamus Smith
The League of Enchantment Michigan lost much of its gear in a vehicle fire Sunday.

A Dewitt-based performance group that dresses up in superhero costumes for sick children is asking for donations after a fire destroyed their prop trailer Sunday.

“Everything is gone,” Shamus Smith, the head of the League of Enchantment Michigan.

Smith says he was driving on Holt Road transporting props and costumes to a new office space in Leslie when the accident happened.

“I got into construction. I'm not sure if I caught something, hit something or a thousand potholes but the tire blew,” Smith recalled. “As I came over the bridge coming towards cedar, I saw smoke behind the vehicle.”

Smith told WKAR in an interview that he tried salvaging the costumes but ended up inhaling plastic fumes as the blaze singed the hair on his arms and legs.

The nonprofit leader, who started the organization in 2017, says the accident caused about $50,000 worth of damage, ruining work laptops, costumes, comics and toys. He likened the remnants to a “plastic puddle.”

“The interior is just a blackened mess,” Smith said. “A lot of it is just completely gone.”

A group of people wearing masks and costumes of various Disney and Marvel superheroes and characters pose with a young boy in a hospital gown sitting on a hospital bed.
League of Enchantment Michigan
Shamus Smith (top middle) with the League of Enchantment Michigan says the nonprofit partners with organizations like Make-A-Wish and the American Cancer Society as members visit various hospitals.

Smith, who runs the 180-member group with his wife Katie Smith, says he is focused on rebuilding despite the challenges that lay ahead.

“Insurance is insurance. We’re always fighting with them. They devalued everything. They’re only willing to pay $7,000,” Smith said.

The organization has started a fundraising campaign on Facebook that has raised more than $7,000 of its $15,000 goal.

Smith says he will continue doing events while the group figures how to recoup its losses. Smith and his wife dress up as Batman and Wonder Woman at their charity drives.

“If there’s anything the community really should rally around, it is creating positives in our community, and helping people do better, and helping people that are struggling to not struggle.”

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