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House Fire Victims Ask Aid Be Given to First Responders, Needy

Blaze leaves family homeless and seeking information on rental space in Morris County.

Despite their home being reduced to charred remains from a multi-alarm fire on Saturday, two Washington Township residents believe it’s the time to give back.

A house at 7 Shenandoah Court had a blaze brewing inside of it for close to an hour, according to a Fairmount Fire Chief Pat Avello, before the homeowners arrived just before 3 p.m. to be greeted by floor-to-ceiling black smoke inside.

For the next two and-a-half hours, the home owned by Sharon Kelly and Robert Williams was taken over by flames, collapsing the roof and bringing much of the structure’s interior all the way to the ground.

As Washington Township residents spent the remainder of the weekend seeking ways to help the immediately displaced family, Kelly and Williams felt it was the proper time to help those who helped them, as well as those less fortunate.

“We are truly fortunate to not be in a position where we are in any desperate need for anything,” said Travis Palmer, the couple’s son who spoke on behalf of his parents. “We are asking people who want to help to make donations to the Long Valley First Aid and Fire squads, homeless shelters, food pantries, or domestic violence services (DASI).”

Currently, Palmer said, the family is looking for rental space in the Morris County area in the immediate future.

Kelly took to her Facebook page to thank first responders and reiterate the family's request of aid:

The outpouring if love concern and generosity is overwhelming ! Truly God in action ! Anyone who would like to help us we ask that you make a donation to the many many fire squads who came and worked so bravely to save out house... Also the long valley food bank, the homeless shelter and domestic violence organizations ! We are so amazingly blessed we have more then we could ever ask for! God bless you and keep you safe!! Sharon and Robert

Blaze Destroyed Long Valley Family's 'Safe Haven'

More than a dozen fire companies responded to the scene Saturday afternoon as the heaviest part of a weekend snowstorm blanketed the area. Water from the south branch of the Raritan River in Middle Valley more than two miles away was pumped into tanker trucks and transported south to the cul-de-sac home. 

When police and first firefighters arrived on the scene, the second floor and roof of the structure was completely engulfed in flames, Washington Township Lt. Doug Compton said.

"When I got on scene both stories were burning and the fire was going right through the roof," said Avello. "It was a pretty nasty fire."

According to a trulia.com listing, the home is 4,100 square feet and sits on 4.49 acres of land. An estimated list price was $736,000, according to the website

No one was injured as a result of the fire and one firefighter was taken to Morristown Medical Center for treatment of a minor back injury. 

Diane Keybida December 16, 2013 at 10:12 PM
Our volunteer firemen are amazing. These brave men serve us while risking their safety to fight fires. Most normal people run away, they work hard to put fires out. Bless them all. Thank you
LV 'r December 17, 2013 at 11:23 PM
My son, one of the volunteer firefighters said he was just as impressed with the kindness from the community coming out with hot chocolate and cookies for the Fireman and asking if there was anything they needed. We are blessed to live in such a caring community.

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