Community gathers, delivers gifts & donations for family who lost all in Dec. 21 fire

by Kate Evans

A Saturday December 21 blaze destroyed a home and its contents in Berkeley Springs and displaced a family just before Christmas.

The fire was called in to 911 Dispatch Center at 11:12 p.m. for Iroquois Trail which is located near Cacapon State Park, said Morgan County Deputy 911 Director Sarah Hogbin.

The two-story home was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived. The family and their pets were able to safely get out of the home, Hogbin said. The home was a total loss.

The home was located in a heavily wooded area. There were no injuries to family members or to firefighters. No origin or cause of the fire were available. The fire is still under investigation.

Fire and rescue units that responded to the blaze were Berkeley Springs, Great Cacapon, South Morgan, Hancock, Gainesboro and Reynolds Store Volunteer Fire Companies along with Morgan County Emergency Medical Services. Units were on the scene for over two and a half hours.

The American Red Cross was contacted for the family who lost everything in the fire. The community rallied and collected money and clothing donations for the family.

Cindy Hovermale of Roy’s Service Center in Berkeley Springs said that they collected six carloads of clothing and household items for the family along with tons of gifts for the little girl.

Around three carloads were gifts for the 7-year-old girl. One of the state troopers and two sheriff’s deputies each had a carload of items for the family.

Local police officers prepare to deliver gifts and donations collected at Roy’s Service Center for a family that lost their home in a Dec. 21 fire.

Hovermale said that they also collected close to $6,000 in monetary donations from the community for the family.

“Our little town came together,” Hovermale said. She said they would still be collecting monetary donations until New Year’s Eve.

Morgan County Sheriff K.C. Bohrer opened the sheriff’s station on Monday, December 23 to help with the collections that Hovermale and her granddaughter Amarie had organized for the family.

People brought clothing, household items, toys and many dolls for the young girl to the Sheriff’s Office all day that Monday.

Bohrer and Deputy Luke Shambaugh delivered two truckloads of items for the family and around $3,000 in monetary donations that Monday.

On Christmas Eve, West Virginia State Trooper Corporal Sam Smith, Morgan County Sheriff’s Deputy Lieutenant Seth Place and Deputy Jeremy Burkholder delivered several more carloads of items they received for the family and additional money that was collected.