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Benefit set for Bakers Mills family that lost home to fire

J&J Foxx Lair offers space for Nov. 11 event

This is what’s left of Bruce and Amy Cleveland’s house in Bakers Mills.

This is what’s left of Bruce and Amy Cleveland’s house in Bakers Mills. Photo by Phillip Sherotov.

— Slater said she was already working on the idea for a fundraiser when she received a phone call from Joe Bibby, of Avalanche, who said he’d like to donate the time of his band for a fundraising event.

“We kind of were doing the same idea at the same time, and he called the day after the fire,” Slater said.

Now the fundraiser includes several bands, including Avalanche and the Steven L. Smith Band, plus an auction, raffle drawings and food. The benefit will start at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11 at the J&J Foxx Lair Tavern, Route 8, Bakers Mills.

“We welcome all the help we can get from the local businesses and individuals,” Slater said. “We want to do as much as we can for them.”

Anyone who wants to bring a food donation is welcome to bring finger foods. Plus, food donations are being coordinated by Nancy Heckett at the Wevertown Country Store. People wishing to donate food should call her at 251-5555.

Donations for the auction and raffles are also needed. People wishing to give these items should call Joelene Slater at 251-0133.

There is a culture of giving in tiny hamlet of Bakers Mills. Neighbors look out for one another. And the J&J Foxx Lair Tavern is usually at the center of fundraisers such as this. Most recently, the bar hosted the annual Halloween Bash benefit for the North Country Hardship Fund.

“We do a lot of benefits,” she said. “I’d have one every week if people needed it. People in this town are so wonderful to help.”

Andrew Millington lives just up the road from the Clevelands and is dating their daughter, Cassandra.

During the night of the fire, Bruce and Amy had left Millington's home to return to their own. Not knowing they had left for the Glens Falls Hospital, Millington ran over to their house during the fire, in his boxers, when he saw a fire truck and briefly entered the house looking for the couple before being pulled back outside and repelled by the heat and smoke. Millington said the fire was caused by a mouse chewing through some electrical wiring, although the cause was not verified by Warren County EMS. The fire only lasted for about 45 minutes, he said, but it was intense and destructive.

No people or pets were injured in the fire; Millington said the pets made it out of the house on their own. The Clevelands, who were at the hospital, didn't know anything about the fire until authorities notified them around 6 a.m.

(Correspondent Philip Sherotov contributed to this story.)

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