Albert J. Marro / Staff Photo
Charred debris is all that remains of a mobile home on Savage Road in Castleton after a fire Friday morning.
CASTLETON — Some fire victims escape with just the clothes on their backs. But a single mother and her three children don’t even have that much after their mobile home at 72 Savage Road burned Friday morning, destroying all their possessions.
Chandra Savage and her three children, ages 12, 11 and 2, are homeless after the 6:30 a.m. fire tore through their double-wide mobile home giving them just enough time to get out — the mother wearing only a towel and one child, Malik, in his underwear.
Castleton Fire Chief Heath Goyette said the department’s quick-attack truck was promptly on the scene, but the fire grew too big too fast.
“We had one truck out rather soon and I was on the second truck in,” he said. “... we were probably 10 to 15 minutes behind the first truck and it was starting to come down already. It’s an older double-wide mobile home. They just go up so fast.”
Savage had just gotten out of the shower as she got ready for work when she noticed the fire in the closet containing the home’s heater. She opened the door and found a small flame and tried to put it out with her towel, but the fire grew rapidly.
“It went so fast,” Savage said. “All we could do was get out of the house.”
Savage’s oldest daughter, Makieya, was staying at a friend’s house.
“She got the kids out of bed and out of the house and that’s all they had,” Goyette said. “It was pretty disappointing, seeing those kids and a single mom. And so close to the holidays makes it even worse.”
Poultney and Fair Haven fire department trucks rolled in to assist Castleton.
“We had a lot of help there in a hurry, but we couldn’t get there in time,” Goyette said. “I wish we could have done more this morning. Hopefully the community can rally around them.”
The community was doing just that Friday to help the family who is currently staying with Savage’s father in Poultney.
A fundraising website, www.gofundme.com/5xdpfg, was collecting donations — $1,430 as of 9 p.m. Friday — and community members started dropping off clothes at a relative’s house next door.
“She’s a great mom,” said Lisa Thayer, whose son is friends with Savage’s son and is heading a fundraising effort that was just getting started Friday night.
“The kids are very well liked at school,” Thayer said. “They’re very popular kids. Everybody loves them.”
Plans include a basket raffle and perhaps a dinner. Thayer and Marcy Goyette, who is representing the Castleton Firefighters Association, were in the early planning stages Friday night but in need of a donated space for an event and more people to help.
Anybody who wants to help can call Thayer at 265-4426.
“They’ll do anything for anybody,” Thayer said. “They’re just a very nice family.”
The family needs everything, starting with clothes.
They need men’s small shirts and outerwear, pants with a 30-inch waist and 30-inch inseam, and shoes and boots in men’s size 9½.
They also need girls clothes in youth extra-large or adult small, and shoes in women’s size 7.
The youngest girl, Maisha, wears size 2T and a child’s shoe size 5/6.
The kids lost all their toys, including this year’s Christmas presents. Savage said much of that amounted to sports equipment and electronics including an Xbox and Kindle tablets.
The family would like to find a used trailer — maybe a fixer-upper that could be refurbished — to get them back into their own place.
“We need to find a place to live,” Savage said. “Everything else can fall into place after that. I’m sure things will fall into place.”
Savage can be reached on her cellphone at 989-4238, where messages can be left during work hours.
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