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Donations, volunteers pour in to help Pylesville family displaced by Christmas Day fire

Donations, volunteers pour in to help Pylesville family displaced by Christmas Day fire
Local businesses and volunteers will come together Saturday morning to help clear the site of a Christmas Day dwelling fire in northern Harford County, which displaced the four members of the Smith family and destroyed their mobile home. (Courtesy of Brandon Watkins / Provided photo)

Local businesses and volunteers will come together this weekend to help clear the site of a Christmas Day dwelling fire in northern Harford County, which displaced the four members of the Smith family and destroyed their mobile home.

A community work day has been scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday on the property at 5022 West Heaps Road in Pylesville.

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Homeowner James Smith, who was displaced along with his wife and two children, is a charter member of the Norrisville Volunteer Fire Company. He helped found the company in 1994.

The Norrisville fire company, which had help in battling the blaze from companies in Harford County and York County, is leading the volunteer effort to get the remains of the manufactured home off the site and prepare it for a new dwelling.

Fire company officials suspect the fire was caused by a malfunctioning kerosene heater.

Norrisville Chief Brandon Watkins said donations of clothing, food and household items have come in for the Smiths.

The chief said "all their belongings were destroyed," except for a few articles of clothing. The family is staying with relatives who live nearby.

He noted the family did not have homeowner's insurance. Volunteers will remove debris and use construction equipment to tear down the remaining portions of the structure. That will leave the site clear for a new structure, according to Watkins.

Businesses on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line have donated materials for Saturday's cleanup as well as helping the family recover after the event.

Donations include equipment for the cleanup such as skid loaders, mini-excavators, wheelbarrows and hand tools, Other businesses are donating food, water, hand sanitizer, gloves, portable toilets, dumpsters and storage facilities, according to Watkins.

The chief said James Smith is not currently an active member of the fire company, but he has been very active in the past, such as volunteering during fundraising events.

"The fire company felt that it would be the right thing to help him out the same way he helped the community out," Watkins said.

The donors include businesses such as Home Depot, of Edgewood, the Subway restaurant in Stewartstown, Pa., Buon Gusto Pizzeria & Grill, of Whiteford, Backyard Boys, of Whiteford, Hall's Septic Services, of Street and Bear's Portable Toilets, of Stewartstown.

Anyone who has questions about Saturday's cleanup should call Watkins at 410-808-7188.

The fire company is not the only community organization supporting the Smith family. The Knights of Columbus, Mason-Dixon Council 10100, is sponsoring the Smith Family Breakfast Fundraiser Jan. 14 at St. Mary's Catholic Church Hall, 1021 St. Mary's Road in Pylesville.

The fundraiser runs from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m., according to a flier for the event. The cost is $8 for adults, $4 for children under 12.

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The Smiths are putting together a list of donated items they have already and items they still need, according to Watkins. Anyone who wants to donate to the family should call 410-452-5401.

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