Rockingham tenant asks for items from fire wreckage

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ROCKINGHAM >> While several residents have expressed their frustration with the mess after a fire at 38 Green Street, the owner of the household argued her case and received some sympathy.

Amy Robillard, 72, the former occupant of 38 Green Street showed up to Tuesday's Select Board meeting requesting some sentimental items from her home, including about 60 hardcover books and a home video of her daughter Nicoline, who died years ago at 9-years-old.

The Select Board informed Robillard that Health Officer stated that no employee of the town or village is to enter the building. Resident Joel Love suggested sending someone in there with a camera to live stream the house, so Robillard can point out which items she wants. Chairman Lamont Barnett said the board would look to send someone in there for about an hour to retrieve this items; no guarantee with the video as Robillard seemed unsure of which box it is located. Barnett also noted the town is on a time crunch and the building needs to be on its ways to demolition. Robillard stated her frustration with the process.

"I have to say that I don't understand the speed at which this has raced forward since the moment I signed that quick claim," said Robillard. "You know I've been working in that mess, trying to clutch to myself the last bits of my life, and all of the sudden, 'get out of way, you can't have anything, you can't go in, you can do this you, you can't do that. Hello, people, I've lost a lot and you're telling me I can't even have what little is left? Come on."

Robillard closed her eyes and rocked back and forth in her seat, and emphasized that the Board did not understand what she had been through.

Select Board member, Stefan Golec began the discussion of how the board could perhaps financially assist Ruggiero, given her cooperation and situation. She informed the board that she is living with one of her daughters in a "crowded" space that she says is fit for one person and she would desire to move elsewhere. She also mentioned her interest in retrieving some tools and other items that she had moved from the house to the garage, but then some member felt that was moving beyond the scope of offering an hour for retrieval of items. Golec made the motion that the town provide Robillard a payment of $1,000 to assist with her financial issues and the motion was seconded by Joshua Hearne. However the offer became somewhat of an ultimatum.

"Amy if we make a financial contribution on your behalf for your cooperation with this property, other than the books and if we can find the video, will you be prepared to walk away from all the other stuff that's at the property?" Barnett asked.

Robillard asked for further explanation. Barnett noted that there may be other items at the household that she is hoping to retrieve to sell for profit. Further he asked, "If we vote to give you some money tonight, will you forget about all that other stuff and allow us to dispose it?"

Robillard paused for a long time and stumbled upon her words, trying to come to a decision. Golec repeated the question to Robillard and Love spoke up and asked that the board give her more time to make a decision.

"You just said 'Here take $1,000 and walk away from everything.' At least give her 24 hours to think about it," said Love.

Robillard continued to rock back and forth in her seat with her hands over face. Barnett said the board needed to vote on it then and now.

"Here's the reality She has no rights to access to the property anymore, we're trying to get her her stuff," Barnett.

However Robillard stated that when signing the quit claim deed, she did not know she was signing away her right to her possessions. Robillard stated that the $1,000 would not touch the replacement of the contents, particularly her tools and asked why the board was "pushing her so hard?"

"What you see here is an emotional wreck, and I am an emotional wreck because you are denying me things that mean an awful lot to me and I'm suppose to accept $1,000, I would have to buy the things that are in that barn under today's prices. What am I going to do with $1,000? It's not going to even touch what I have to replace!" Robillard stated.

Golec withdrew his motion. Stearns said he will request the Highway Department retrieve the books and video if possible. Barnett said it is not indefinite but she may have "limited" access to the barn.

Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext 275


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