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Neighbors rally to help man who lost home to fire

By Fran Gonzalez | Apr 08, 2021
Photo by: Rachael Weaver, Troy Fire Department Firefighters race to put out a blaze at Stephen Fowler's garage March 27 in Thorndike.

Thorndike —

In the wake of a devastating fire, the community has come to the aid of Stephen Fowler, 86, who lost his home and all his possessions. He was not insured.

Several local fire crews worked together to extinguish the blaze March 27.

Neighbors turn out

Several community fundraisers are planned to help Stephen Fowler build a new home after he lost his house and all of its contents to fire.

• A chicken barbecue fundraiser is planned for Saturday, April 24, at the Snowdusters' clubhouse, Fisher Road, Unity, noon to 2:30 p.m. According to organizer Lori Nason, the cost is $10 a plate and people can eat in or drive through. See tinyurl.com/4y2pbev9 for more information or to see auction items. There will be a Chinese raffle table and a cash raffle with prizes of $1,000, $300 and $200. Tickets can be purchased for $5 or five for $20.
• A Facebook fundraiser organized by Jennifer Fowler as of Wednesday, April 7, had raised over $10,000. To make a donation, visit tinyurl.com/3fmxb9br.
• Parsons Small Engine & Gun Shop has teamed up with Chase Toys to sponsor a fundraising raffle. Tickets are $10 for a chance to win a Springfield XD 9mm pistol. Stop in at 991 Waterville Road in Unity to purchase tickets. Raffle ends Saturday, April 10. For more information, visit tinyurl.com/6jrr3bab.

 

Unity Fire Chief Blaine Parsons said the call came in around 9:30 a.m. and when his crew arrived at the East Thorndike Road address, the house was fully engulfed.

The fire at the single-story wood-framed house with an attached garage started in the cellar, Parsons said, but because of the extensive damage, the Fire Marshal’s Office listed the cause as undetermined.

The house and garage were destroyed, he said. “It was a complete loss when we got there." Fire crews remained at the scene for over four hours putting out hot spots to fully extinguish the blaze.

“We had a good water source,” Parsons said, “but high winds made it difficult to get it under control at first.”

Besides Unity Fire Department, crews from Thorndike, Troy, Freedom, Jackson, Burnham, Albion, Montville and Liberty answered the call.

Parsons reminded residents to make sure they have working smoke detectors in their homes and clear debris from all heated surfaces such as wood stoves and space heaters.

For Fowler, the fire brought total loss. According to his daughter-in-law Jennifer Fowler, he did not have homeowner's insurance.

The house was built 41 years ago, she said, with help from the community, because at the time Stephen had a broken arm.

“Stephen built this home for his late wife, Maxine and their six sons," she said, "and all of Stephen and Maxine’s lifelong possessions and memories were lost.”

She said Fowler was not injured in the blaze and was outside when the fire broke out. He tried to go back into the house, had opened the door, but could not take a step, she said.

One of the first responders found him with a garden hose trying to put out the fire.

“He’s doing all right,” she said, and added the hardest part is losing all the memories.

Fowler had mentioned he had been at the kitchen table looking through old photos from a shoe box he kept them in just that morning.

“He’s forging ahead,” she said.

Stephen Fowler (Courtesy of: Facebook)
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