A family that includes at least five people was forced to move in with relatives next door after a fire destroyed their Hartshorn Road home Wednesday morning, Dec. 28.

Morrill Fire Chief Pat Scribner said the whole Nibby family was home when the fire broke out at about 11:30 a.m., but that all were able to escape without injury.

“They lost a dog, a cat and a few birds,” said Scribner.

When Morrill firefighters arrived at the scene, Scribner said the blaze was building momentum in the back portion of the home.

“There was heavy, black smoke coming from the end of the back bedroom where the fire initiated,” he said, noting that the cause of the fire was electrical in nature. “We were able to stop it in the back section.”

Firefighters closed the Hartshorn Road off to traffic for a short time while they fought the blaze, but Scribner said that was a relatively small inconvenience for local residents because there are only about four or five homes on the entire road.

Firefighters from Belfast, Belmont, Waldo and Searsmont also responded to the scene, Scribner said.

Even though the exterior walls of the building remained standing once the fire was out, Scribner said the inside sustained heavy smoke and water damage.

“It’s pretty much uninhabitable; it’s completely destroyed. There’s just nothing left,” he said.

There is currently a donation jar set up at Morrill General Store, and Scribner said the department, through its ladies auxiliary, intends to establish a fund to meet the greater needs of the Nibby family because they had no insurance on the home.

“Our long-range plan, our goal, is to find another trailer of some sort for the family,” he said.

The fund would be used to furnish another trailer for the family if and when another mobile home is donated, said Scribner, and local volunteers would likely come together to help the family get the home set up to live in. The fund may also be used to cover the costs of an inexpensive trailer if a donated one cannot be found.

It’s a big to-do list, but Scribner said he’s confident the community will get the job done.

“This town does a very, very good job of banding together when there’s a need like this,” he said.

But in the short-term, said Scribner, the Nibby family’s immediate needs are fairly significant.

Scribner said even though they were able to move in with relatives next door, the situation is not what Scribner would describe as ideal. Scribner said there are at least 10 people staying in the relatively small trailer, where there was no heat or running water.

Morrill resident Lori Littlefield is acting as the point person for the family and is working to meet the immediate needs of the Nibby family such as food and heat for the home in which they are staying.

“We’re also going to try and get a port-a-potty in there today,” said Scribner.

The family is also in need of pet supplies, as Scribner said there are many animals on the property where the Nibbys are staying, including a dozen dogs, five cats, a goats, a horse and a turtle.

The Red Cross is also assisting the family with necessities such as clothing and blankets, said Scribner.

The greatest immediate need the family has now, said Littlefield, is food, both perishable and nonperishable. All food donations can be dropped off at the Morrill Baptist Church between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and there are donation boxes set up for the family in the entryway. Items that need to stay cold can be labeled for the Nibby family and placed inside the church refrigerator. Food items are picked up and delivered to the Nibby family a couple of times a day, Littlefield said.

There is an ongoing effort at the church to cook meals for the family because they are currently using a generator for power at the trailer they are staying in, and Littlefield said volunteers are needed to assist on that front. Those interested in preparing meals for the Nibby family can contact Ruth Richards at 342-3551.

Because the family is without running water, and because there are so many animals at the residence, Littlefield said jugs of water are also needed. Bales of hay would also be helpful, she said.

Organizers are asking people not to bring in clothing donations because everyone in the family wears unusual clothing sizes, but monetary donations are welcome. Checks to help the Nibby family may be mailed to the MFD Ladies Auxiliary, PO Box 112, Morrill, ME 04952, and should indicate in the memo line that the donation is for the Nibby family.

Those with questions on how they can help the Nibby family can contact Littlefield at 342-4020.