As tough as it is to find the “bright side” when tragedy strikes, one Shelton family said it is forever grateful for the community support they received when their home was damaged by fire earlier this month.
“Nobody goes out to become a charity case and it’s tough to open yourself up to that, but the outpouring of support both emotionally and financially as well as the physical items that were brought to us was mind blowing,” said Jeff Davis who lives in the home with his wife Diana and two sons.
Jeff said he was blown away by the overall impact social media had in terms making people aware of their situation.
“GoFundMe exploded with our network of friends, her sister’s friends and a former Nasdaq colleague of ours who created one as well. Everyone knew right away,” said Jeff.
In total, the two online donation sites created to help support the family after the fire raised over $9,000.
Diana Davis took to Facebook to express her appreciation for all of the support the family has received: “As we rebound from the fire, the hardest part for Jeff and I is finding the right words and platform to thank everyone. The outpouring of food, items, gift cards, and funds has been amazing. I have begun to send/email my Thank Yous. If you donated through the Go Fund Me set up by Rose Santossio Brown — you should get an email from me, although it will appear from her. (In some cases, I sent private fb messages until I realized how much more effective the site is to send direct thanks). Thank you is just a small phrase to encapsulate how we feel. Much love to everyone from us and we’ll never forget anyone’s generosity.”
She said she is concerned that she won’t be able to contact everyone who contributed to the cause, but the family is thankful for all of the donations and forms of support they have received to date.
“What do you even say? A lot of people don’t want to hear from us or about thanking them for their help, but it’s impossible not to acknowledge that,” said Jeff. “We will forever be in these people’s debt, but we want to offer some token to show our appreciation.”
The fire began near 7 p.m. on Saturday Oct. 1. Jeff, Diana and their youngest son Dominick were at Shelton High School attending a football game that had been rescheduled for that day. Jeff said Diana received but didn’t answer a call from her son during the National Anthem, only to find out he was calling because their house had caught fire.
About 15 minutes after receiving the call from their son, they headed home to find that the fire had been put out.
Shelton Fire Marshal Jim Tortora determined the cause of the fire was an explosion of an aerosol can of body spray left inside of their dryer.
“It was left in some heavy cargo shorts that probably weighed five pounds wet so it didn’t really pop up on my radar,” said Jeff. “If somebody else can learn anything please check your pockets. We lost our whole house.”
From the outside you can’t tell there was a fire, other than a boarded up window or two, but the entire first floor has been gutted down to the studs. The house is currently being cleaned, tiles and ceilings are being removed.
The family is unable to live at home for nine months up to a year, but has since relocated to a rental home in Shelton for the time being. Jeff said they initially stayed at a Residence Inn for 11 days before finding the rental because they allowed pets.
The Davis family has lost all of its furniture, some sentimental items, as well as most clothes, but Jeff and Diana said they’re hopeful that the community support has inspired their two sons Joe, 14, and Dominick, 12, to help others in need. According to both parents, Dominick has said he now wants to become a firefighter when he gets older.
“Even if he changes his mind I am sure he has a newfound respect for the job they do,” said Jeff.