There have been a number of house fires recently in the Southern Tier. Some have watched everything they own go up in smoke. Our Melissa Kakareka sat down with one family from West Windsor to find out how they are rebuilding their lives and what the community is doing to help.
PORT CRANE, N.Y. -- It's been less than two weeks since Marilyn Warpus and some of her family members lost their home, their belongings, and their dogs in a fire in West Windsor.
"Coming down the highway, I could see the flames high in the sky and thought, 'well, I'm not going to have a house when I got there,'" remembered Warpus.
It's still difficult for many of the family members to talk about the loss as they deal with their emotions and move forward with the rebuilding process. Right now, they are staying with a family friend as they cope.
"We are able to do our laundry and shower when we want and they feed us great and it's been great," said Warpus.
And that friend isn't the only one reaching out to the family. Warpus says the family has received an outpouring of support from the community.
"It's heartwarming to know there are so many good people in the world," said Warpus.
Warpus worked at Good Shepherd Fairview Home, and was just days away from retirement when the fire happened. Two other adults from the household also work at Good Shepherd.
The organization has already provided help in numerous ways, and is now setting up a temporary fund for donations.
Good Shepherd President and CEO Michael Keenan said, "We established through NBT Bank at 156 Robinson Street, 'The Marilyn Warpus Emergency Fund,' and we can make contributions to that fund until March 1st. Then, whatever is raised will be presented to the family."
As for the future, the Warpus family has secured temporary housing in Binghamton for the next six months. They do plan to return to West Windsor.
Warpus said, "It's been our home since 1995, so I don't want to relocate anywhere else."
NBT Bank on 156 Robinson Street in Binghamton has setup a temporary account, open until March 1, 2013. Donations are encouraged to the “Marilyn Warpus Emergency Fund.”