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Community rallies for fire victims

ALTONA As a volunteer firefighter, Fred Porter has seen firsthand the value of having a fire alarm in working order. But, on May 31, his own fire alarm may have saved the lives of his family when an electrical fire ravaged their home. We were sleeping when the fire alarm went off, recalled Lisa Porter, Fred Porters wife. Smoke was rolling into the bedroom. I grabbed our daughter and we went out the living room window. After running to a neighbors house for help, the Porters returned to their home to try to rescue their two dogs. They were able to save one dog; however, a German shepherd puppy was lost in the blaze along with their house and all its contents. With their home and all their belongings destroyed, the family is currently staying with Lisa Porters mother in Altona. Although they havent had time to fully formulate their future housing plans, they are planning to rebuild on the same Railroad Street property. Since that disastrous day, the Porters have been touched by the way the entire North Country community has rallied around them. At a spaghetti dinner benefit held at the Altona Volunteer Fire Department June 7, the Porters expressed their gratitude for all the family, friends, neighbors and even strangers who have helped them. Its unbelievable, said Lisa Porter. The clothes, food, toys, money I think [our 3-year-old daughter] has more clothes now than before. Its been everything you can ask. A lot of people that you wouldnt expect, too, added Fred Porter. Event organizer Danielle Peryea agreed the response from the community has been overwhelming. There has been a tremendous amount of support, said Peryea. I knew people would help, but I just wasnt expecting the amount weve gotten so far. For Peryea, the impetus to help came naturally. The families have a long history together Peryeas husband serves as a volunteer firefighter alongside Fred Porter, both of whom work for the town of Altona. Were friends, she added. Its something for one family to help another. According to Lisa Porter, that help has been the only up side to what has otherwise been a complete tragedy for the family. The way you see people pull together has been the only good thing, she admitted. If you look around [the benefit dinner], you see family and friends looking out for best for them, confirmed Peryea. Peryea is continuing to collect clothes and household goods for the family, along with money and gift cards so the family can buy what they need. To help, contact Peryea at 236-4641 or 578-0841.

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