Relief fund set up for Brattleboro couple left homeless by fire

Tuesday January 29, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- A couple whose home burned down last week is picking up the pieces with some help from the community.

"This is a devastating time for them," said Candy Chearest, the couple's daughter. "They lost everything in their house except what was on their backs."

On Jan. 24, William and Lynda Covey came home to discover smoke when they unlocked the front door. There was so much smoke that they could not do anything but leave and call for help. They backed out of their home and ran to the neighbor's house to call the fire department.

The cause of the fire is still unknown. William told the Reformer the only thing that is apparent is that the fire started in the back of the house.

The Coveys lived in their mobile home on Covey Road for 47 years. Both of them have been lifetime residents of Brattleboro. William is known around the area as the "Egg Man."

"When you have a house to live in and all of a sudden it's gone, it's quite a shock," said William. "The neighborhood and everybody is helping out a lot. They pitched right in. It's great."

For now, the Coveys have been staying with some friends while they look for a place to temporarily reside until there is a clean-up at the site of the fire.

With help from their daughter and the community, the couple has been looking for a place to rent, but have had difficulties finding a place that fits within their budget. Their home had already been paid for.

Some of the neighbors created a relief fund at Merchant's Bank and Chearest has set up drop boxes at nearby Burton Car Wash locations, where William is currently employed.

"Any type of donations would be appreciated," Chearest said. "They are starting from the beginning. Right now, their lives are turned around. You never imagine that it'd happen to you. When you're faced with it, you just don't know what to do."

Chearest told the Reformer that she is currently trying to help her parents get back into a normal, daily routine so they will "be able to go to work and not have to worry about where they're going to stay, what's going to happen tomorrow."

She said it's going to be a long process and each day that they visit the site of their old home, "it's very difficult."

"It's a long road to go," said Chearest. "From now until the final clean-up."

The Red Cross has reached out and helped the Coveys in getting basic clothing. William is a Shriner, so members of the fellowship have been helping out with donations, too.

The Covey's insurance company has come to the property to look at and assess the damage. It's representatives made a report.

The Brattleboro Fire Chief Michael Bucossi has come and checked up on the family and the property as well, since his department along with several other towns' units put it out.

The couple is upset about their dog that had died in the fire.

"Their dog was like their child," said Chearest. "It was a great loss to them."

For now, the Coveys are trying to get their life back to normal, as best they can.

"We take it one day at a time," said William. "That's what we do. It's just waiting. You just don't know what to do."

The relief fund that has been set up at Merchant's Bank is located at 205 Main Street in Brattleboro. Checks should be made payable to "Covey Road House Fire Relief Fund."

Drop boxes have also been set up at Burton Car Wash locations at 201 Canal Street and 873 Putney Road in Brattleboro.

Donations are asked to be made between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.


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