A Fallston family whose home was destroyed in a fire earlier this week said through a family friend that they are grateful for the outpouring of support from the community in the aftermath, and urged people to give to other families in need during the holidays.
Jay and Sarah Kilian, their three children and two dogs were displaced, but able to safely escape the two-alarm blaze Tuesday night at their home in the 3400 block of Widows Care. The fire caused approximately $600,000 in damages, rendering the home, vehicles and all contents a complete loss, fire officials said.
“The Kilian Family has been overwhelmed by the generosity and humbled by the outpouring of love from family, friends, neighbors and even complete strangers during this horrible moment in our lives. We are so very thankful to all,” the Kilians said in a statement provided to The Aegis by family friend Katie Foxx.
Foxx said the Kilians are staying with family for now.
“They have a really good support network, both of their families are locally,” Foxx said. “They are truly good people. You can see by everybody’s interest in trying to help them, it just shows.”
A GoFundMe page that had been set up for the family raised more than $108,000 from 1,213 people in less than 48 hours. On Thursday, Michael Meehan, an in-law who started the page, wrote that the Kilians were “overwhelmed and humbled by the neighbors, friends, family, and strangers who have given love, hope, hugs and support along with food, clothing, gifts and donations.”
The family asked that people stop making donations to the page and, for those so inclined, to donate to another family in need, he wrote.
“Although we lost family heirlooms and other material possessions in the fire, we have learned that we still have everything we really need in this world. We are safe, healthy, together, surrounded by love and supported by a wonderful community,” the Kilians said in the statement provided by Foxx.
“We are in far better shape than many others who are struggling during this holiday season — fighting to make ends meet, feed their family, find employment and keep the heat on. We are beyond grateful for the help we received and look forward to rebuilding.”
Sarah Kilian is a special education transition resource itinerant supporting students at Harford Technical High School and John Archer School, according to Randy Geyer, the principal at John Archer.
“I have been able to speak with Sarah and she shares that her family is taking it one step at time with the acceptance and healing process,” Geyer wrote in an email. “Sarah’s school family including John Archer School, Harford Technical High School, Fallston Middle and Fallston High School have rallied to offer as much love, support, and prayers as the family can handle.”
Jay Kilian is an employee of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Gregg Bortz, a spokesperson for the department, said the DNR secretary and senior leadership learned about the fire Wednesday.
“First and foremost, everyone here is thankful that Jay and his family are safe,” Bortz said. “Knowing how hard this must be, especially around the holidays, information has been shared with all of his coworkers on how they can reach out and help. He and his family are in our thoughts during this difficult time.”
The fire, reported around 11:43 p.m. Tuesday, reportedly started due to discarded ashes, according to the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
A family member initially heard a noise, then later observed a fire on the rear porch that was rapidly spreading up the side of the home, the fire marshal’s office said. The family was able to evacuate and call 911.
About 50 firefighters from the Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Company and other companies responded to the single family home with an attached garage. It took about 90 minutes to control, according to the fire marshal.
The fire marshal’s office reminded people to treat all ashes and coals as if they are hot ashes, even if you think they’ve had enough time to cool, and to dispose of them wisely.
“Your house, deck or garage are unsafe locations for storing ashes while they cool and have been the site of many recent and devastating fires both locally and nationally,” a notice from the fire marshal’s office states. “Store cooled ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep it outside and at least 10 feet from your home or nearby buildings.”
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The fire marshal also recommended pouring water into a container to make sure the ashes are cool.