SHELTON — The Silver Sluggers, a group of baseball lovers who have met weekly at Derby Library since 2006, are going to bat for one of their own.

Longtime Connecticut sportswriter and Silver Slugger member Peter Vander Veer, his wife and two birds escaped a blaze at their Winchester Drive apartment in February.

Now, members of the group are helping raise money as the Vander Veers look for a new home.

A GoFundMe page has been established for the couple, who lived in the Huntington section of Shelton for more than 32 years.

Firefighters arriving at the Winchester Drive residence at 11:50 p.m. Feb. 16 found fire on the ground-level floor of an attached in-law apartment addition to the rear of a large raised ranch. The blaze caused extensive damage to the basement area but firefighters kept the fire from entering the main house, said Fire Marshal James Tortora.

There were no injuries to civilians or firefighters.

Vander Veer, in a letter to his fellow Silver Slugger members, credited Shelton’s firefighters for their efforts dousing the fire and making sure all were safe.

“My wife and I, along with our two birds, were able to escape,” said Vander Veer. “But, as we watched in horror, the entire basement was ablaze. Unfortunately, I lost most of my sports writing collection, hundreds of articles I'd authored and had stored away in containers, are gone. Many of my auto racing magazines in which I'd written for over the years, are also gone.

“We lost furniture, personal items and so much more. But, due to the heroic efforts of the combined fire departments from Huntington, Shelton and Nichols, the fire was contained to the basement, with only a few hot spots breaking into the upper floor where we lived,” added Vander Veer.

The GoFundMe site states that the Vander Veers, “through the generous help from many, are moving on with their lives. They are deeply appreciative of all the help they have received so far.”

Those wishing to donate can access the GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/mvc.php?route=homepage_norma/search&term=peter%20vander%20veer

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com