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It was learned this week that Lewiston-Porter Board of Education member Julie Donnelley and her family were displaced in a house fire that occurred Saturday on Michelle Court in the Town of Lewiston. A fundraiser was announced Tuesday by the school district to help the family get back on its feet.
According to a report from Lewiston Fire Co. No. 1, at approximately 3:02 p.m. Saturday, firefighters were dispatched to a residential structure fire. The Niagara County Communications Center received multiple additional calls reporting flames visible in the structure.
Lewiston No. 1 Fire Chief Spencer Lilly arrived shortly thereafter, finding an involved residential structure with flames coming out the front window. Crews from Lewiston No. 1 were able to make a quick entry into the residence and extinguish the fire. A ladder truck from Upper Mountain Fire was deployed in the front of the structure. An additional engine was called for FAST, from the Niagara Falls Fire Reserve Station. Crews worked throughout the afternoon to extinguish the fire.
“Niagara County origin and cause is investigating the incident further. The cause continues to be under investigation at this time, but appears accidental,” Lilly said. “There were no reported injuries, and everyone made it out of the house safely.”
LFD No. 1 said additional aid was provided by the Lewiston Police Department.
In a letter to the Lew-Port community on [email protected], Lewiston-Porter Schools Superintendent Paul Casseri, stated, “As many of you may be aware the Donnelley family (Julie is our Board of Education vice president) suffered a horrific house fire that has been deemed a total loss. The family is currently living out of a hotel while they work with their insurance carrier for temporary housing.
“As some of may know, fire insurance covers many aspects of the rebuilding process but ultimately there are many out of pocket expenses. Many individuals and groups have reached out to me asking what they can do or how they can donate to help the family. To that end, we are starting a donation fund here at (the) district office (not through GoFundMe).
“Individuals that wish to donate to help the family may send or drop off a donation (if by check – made out to Lewiston-Porter) or a gift card (Tops, Wegmans, Home Depot, Lowes, etc.) to the district offices. Donations should be sent to Toni Marie Waldeck – tax collector at district office.”
Casseri said the district would collect donations until noon, Friday, March 31.
“We will deposit all checks and cash at the credit union and present one donation along with any gift cards to the family,” he said. “Please indicate on the envelope with the donation your name or organization's name and if you wish to remain anonymous.”
For more information on how to assist the family, contact Casseri’s office at 716-286-7266.