WESTERLY — Residents of a Canal Street home escaped uninjured on Thursday after an early morning fire tore through their Canal Street home, killing the lifelong Westerly couple's beloved cats and leaving them without a home.
Now members of the community are coming together in an effort to help them rebuild — and a Go Fund Me campaign that was started on Christmas Eve in their name had already raised more than $16,000 as organizers seek to help the couple, Stanley and Rebecca Molon, rebuild after losing a house that had been in the family for several generations.
"On (Dec. 23) they were able to escape a devastating, overnight house fire in their generational family home," fundraiser organizer and family friend Laura Colucci said on the page. "Unfortunately they lost everything in the fire, including their beloved cats. They are in great need at this time and welcome any support as they look to rebuild their lives this Christmas season."
The early Thursday fire was reported around 4:15 a.m. at a single family home at 170 Canal St., located a few homes north of the intersection with Yankee Drive. Westerly firefighters arrived and confirmed a full structure fire and immediately used several hose lines to contain the blaze. The fire was extinguished quickly once responders arrived, according to emergency officials.
The home's owners, Stanley and Rebecca Molon, escaped the fire but were unable to rescue their beloved cats, friend and fire officials said.
Staff with the Westerly Ambulance Corps and officers with the Westerly Police Department aided in the response, and officials said mutual aid from several surrounding fire departments also provided assistance.
The Rhode Island Office of the State Fire Marshal is continuing to investigate and will determine an exact cause. The fire is not considered suspicious.
In a press release, the American Red Cross said the couple was provided a recovery envelope to aid in cleanup and restoration, as well as offering them a comfort kits containing personal care items such as toothbrushes, deodorant, shaving supplies and other items a resident might need after being suddenly displaced.
The American Red Cross is also working with the couple to determine a long-term recovery plan.
Colucci, a family friend of the couple, said that Stanley and Rebecca Molon are both lifelong Westerly residents who have lived in the single-family home that was built in 1900 for a number of years now. According to Westerly GIS records, the home has belonged to Rebecca Moon's family since at least 1947.
"They are staying with my family in the meantime," Colucci said. "They supported me every step of the way growing up and I am determined to do the same for them now in their time of need."
On Sunday afternoon, the fundraiser received a big boost when an anonymous donor gave a $10,000 commitment, bringing the total raised to $16,285 as of 2 p.m. Monday. The initial goal of the fundraiser was to raise $20,000, and all money will help the couple to rebuild after their home was determined to be a complete loss.
To donate, visit the Go Fund Me page at www.gofundme.com/f/lets-help-rebuild-after-a-christmas-house-fire.