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Clinton Steps Up When Family Loses Home to Fire

Published Nov. 08, 2017 • Last Updated 02:17 p.m., Nov. 08, 2017

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The Clinton community has rallied around a family after an unthinkable tragedy. On Oct. 30, the home of Paula and Joe Lester-Roesenkrantz caught fire amid the high winds and rain of that night. Paula, Joe, and their three daughters Alexa, Carley, and Ava were unharmed, but the family lost its beloved dog Timber and all its belongings.

Kelly Kniffin–Prevost, a friend of the family who lives nearby, spoke to the Harbor News about the situation. Kniffin-Prevost said that the fire was started by a wood stove in the family’s living room.

“They’re OK. The loss of their dog has been hard, though,” Kniffin-Prevost said.

Kniffin-Prevost said the family is currently in a hotel while they find a place to rent in the area.

“Everyone supporting them has made it bearable,” Kniffin-Prevost said.

Kniffin-Prevost posted in the All Things Clinton Facebook group to alert people of the family’s plight, and said she quickly received “so many responses.” People have donated clothes, gift cards, and food for the family.

“The world we live in can be pretty ugly at times. It’s nice to be reminded how good people can be,” Kniffin-Prevost said. “I had a carload of clothes within a day. It was incredible...I’m proud of our community.”

"It's beautiful how good people are," Paula Lester-Roesenkrantz said. "The Fire Department and Police Department were amazing that night."

Lester-Roesenkrantz noted that the first responders tried to preform CPR on Timber when they arrived.

"I want to say thank you to everyone around us. In times like these, you realize how nice people are," she said.

In addition to the donations of goods, the community has rallied around the family a donations page, set up at www.gofundme.com/paula-and-family. The page started with a goal of $10,000; as of press time, 145 people had raised $14,825 in three days.

Miner Vincent, the president of Families Helping Families, said that the organization will provide help to the family.

“Funds will be immediately available,” Vincent said. “We’re doing what we can to make it as simple as possible.”

A post on the Clinton Fire Department’s Facebook page stated that, “At 1:02 a.m., firefighters and EMS were dispatched to a residence on Glenwood Road for a reported structure fire. Firefighters arrived on scene to find fire on the first floor of the two-story residence. All occupants had been evacuated without incident. Engine 2, Engine 3, Engine 4, Ladder 1, Rescue 9, and Ambulance 2 responded with mutual aid assistance from the towns of Killingworth, Madison, and Old Saybrook. Two lines were stretched from Engine 2 and firefighters were able to knock the fire down within minutes of arrival.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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