CHAMPLAIN — After a fire that left the Cone family homeless and living in a hotel, the family of six moved into their new home just in time for Thanksgiving.
Christina and Jarrod Cone were thankful that they and their children were able to leave their burning house safely.
“We were eating dinner, and we saw smoke coming in the wall,” Christina recalled. “The mudroom and garage area were full of smoke.”
The family immediately left the house, wearing sandals and slippers, and walked across the street, where they watched the garage and house burn.
“Everything was gone because of smoke damage; everything was melted,” Christina said.
The only items they were able to salvage were pots, pans and silverware.
They lost the family vehicle, but Christina said the sentimental items are missed the most. Their photos were digital, but crafts that the children made can’t be replaced.
Nine fire departments responded to the fire, according to Christina, and the American Red Cross wasn’t far behind.
“The Red Cross was there immediately, before the fire was even out,” she said.
Jarrod and Christina and their four children — Alex, 7; James, 6; Geri, 2; and Dylan, 4 months old — were clothed, kept warm and fed before the night was over.
With no possessions to their name, the Cones took up residence in a local hotel for a week. But it wasn’t long before the community started to respond to the tragedy.
“The charity just started rolling in,” Christina said.
OUTPOURING OF HELP
Most of the assistance came from Clinton Community College, where Jarrod works as an assistant professor. The family moved to Champlain two years ago, when Jarrod accepted the job.
“We’ve got furniture from everybody that works there,” Christina said.
Various student organizations and even individual students made donations to the Cones.