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Community rallies for firefighter’s family who lost everything in devastating Cayuga blaze

Community rallies for family in Cayuga County who lost everything

An early-morning house fire near the town of Niles in Cayuga County Wednesday left a family with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

For Three Town District Fire Chief Pat Merical, the fire was personal. When he responded to the blaze on Oak Hill Road it turned out to be the home of his lifelong friend and the assistant fire chief of the West Niles Fire Department, Doug Winters.

“It was just devastating because you lose your house that’s one thing, but now you lost your house right before Christmas,” said Merical. “All your family belongings are in there. You lost everything.”

Investigators said the fire started in the garage and took off uncontrollably. Doug, his wife Danielle, their three boys and two dogs made it out. Two pet turtles didn’t make it. The family is safe, but they’re starting from square one as winter sets in.

“With three boys in school, they’ve lost all their school supplies. anything they wear to school right down from sneakers ,underwear anything it’s all gone,” said Merical.

By Wednesday night, word spread of what happened. The Moravia Central School District and fire departments across the county started posting on social media calling on the community for donations. Danielle Winters is the transportation director for the school district.

Within a day, their break-room became filled with bags of donations.

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Home destroyed, first responders rally to support in Cayuga County

Update: Wednesday, 2:20 p.m.

First responders say the blaze in Cayuga County impacted one of their own.

While the fire at 3894 Oak Hill Road was reported around 1:30 a.m. – the result was devastation for a firefighter with the West Niles Fire Department.

While the Red Cross is assisting the family – they are asking for any donations possible. They can be dropped off at the Moravia Bus Garage.

First responders around Cayuga County unified support for the firefighter – who was not yet identified. At this point, they are asking for household items and clothing for the family of five, which was displaced by the blaze.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Home destroyed by fire, family of five displaced

– Wednesday, 8 a.m.

An early-morning fire in the town of Niles resulted in the total loss of a home on Oak Hill Road.

The fire was reported at 3849 Oak Hill Road around 1:33 a.m. Multiple departments in Cayuga County responded to the scene.

Altogether eight departments battled the blaze. The Citizen reports that Aurelius, Fleming, Locke, Moravia, New Hope, Sempronius, and West Niles were among the responding departments.

It took approximately an hour to bring the blaze under control.

No one was injured in the blaze, even though a family of five were at home at the time. All of them safely evacuated before the flames became too intense.

The American Red Cross is assisting at the scene. The investigation remains active, according to first responders.

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