2004-01-02 / Front Page

Fire Destroys Home On Christmas

By Brian Magoolaghan
Fire Destroys Home On Christmas By Brian Magoolaghan

The Findley family home was severely damaged in a fire on Christmas night. The family members were uninjured, but need the community’s help.The Findley family home was severely damaged in a fire on Christmas night. The family members were uninjured, but need the community’s help.

It’s the Christmas that the Findley family will always remember. They celebrated the holiday together after the newest member of their family was born at a local hospital, but then a fire destroyed their home.

The good news is everyone got out safely, and the family had insurance.

The Findley’s, of 546 Beach 69 Street, met with their insurance representative this week after the blaze took the home, and everything inside. Although they were able to find temporary shelter just a few steps down their block, they said the fast-moving fire left them with little more than the clothes on their backs.

Among the most important items consumed in the fire was medical equipment for several young family members who suffer from Asthma, the family said.

James Sanders Jr., the City Councilman representing that area of Rockaway, is gearing up to help, and contacted the family on Wednesday morning to find out what they need most. Sanders called the fire "a terrible disaster," but pointed out that, "This gives our community a chance to show that we have not forgotten the meaning of the season."

As The Wave went to press Sand­ers was on his way to purchase "basic stuff," including medical supplies, inflatable mattresses and seven schoolbags for the children, who will be returning to school on Monday.

"We have started to address their needs," Sanders said, adding the Kiwanis Club has also agreed to help.

Sanders also got the go-ahead to begin setting up a "Findley Family Fund." He said check or money order donations to the fund would be accepted through his office, at 20-10 Seagirt Boulevard, Far Rockaway. If community members would like to donate other goods, such as clothing or other household items, they are asked to call the office, at 718-471-7014, for more information.

The devastating fire broke out at about 10:30 p.m., just a couple of hours after the family ate Christmas dinner together and learned that a baby, named Jason, was born at St. John’s Epis­copal Hospital that night.

Neighbors phoned in a stream of 911 calls as smoke spread quickly in the wind. When they arrived, a dep­art­ment spokesman said, they found the first floor engulfed in flames. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, it was reported that a family member saw sparks shooting from an electrical socket.

The Findley’s evacuated and then watched as their two-story home burned and crumbled in front of their eyes. Police officers went to the precinct house and returned to distribute coats, which had been donated for the New York Cares Coat Drive.

It took a little more than an hour for firefighters to bring the blaze under control.

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