Son seeks help for man who lost home in fire

Posted Jan. 14, 2011, at 6:21 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:41 a.m.

Longtime Kenduskeag resident Michael Taylor lost just about everything he owned on New Year’s Day, Saturday, Jan. 1, when a fire destroyed his trailer on Town House Road.

His son, Earle Taylor of Bangor, said his father was at work at Garelick Farms in Bangor when Michael’s next-door neighbor called him and told him his trailer was on fire, Earle said.

“Dad said, ‘OK, thank you,’ punched out and went home, but by the time he got there, the trailer was destroyed.”

Fire crews were on the scene, but were unable to save the home.

“Everything he had was either in his vehicle or in his house,” Earle said.

“He lost everything.”

Now staying with friends at multiple locations, Earle said his father stayed with him for a little while but is now “staying a week here, a week there” with people who are kind enough to take him into their homes.

To help Michael rebuild his life, Earle said “we are reaching out to the public,” and that a charitable account has been established at Maine Savings Federal Credit Union, which has nine offices in the area.

Donations can be made at any Maine Savings Federal Credit Union office and should be made to the Michael J. Taylor Charitable Account.

If you cannot donate in person, your contributions can be sent to Maine Savings Federal Credit Union, P.O. Box 347, Hampden 04444.

Earle said his father’s home was not insured, and that he has returned to work.

“He really needs all the help he can get,” Earle said.

“We’re not asking for a lot of any one individual.

“We’re just hoping that someone has a dollar to spare, or $5 or $10, and collectively we can help get him on his feet. Get him a fresh start.”

Donation buckets have been placed in several area stores, “and we are collecting bottles,” Earle said.

The redemption center has asked that all the donated bottles be counted, however, so Earle is willing to pick them up for you.

To help in that collection effort, Earle is asking people to e-mail him at mjt_firerelieffund@hotmail.com and he will make arrangements to pick up your returnable bottles.

That e-mail address “is also a valid PayPal account,” Earle told me, “so if people want to use that to make contributions, they can donate directly through PayPal and they can do it in just three minutes.”

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In this instance, as is so often the case during the winter months, the American Red Cross was contacted to provide assistance to the homeowner, according to the report of this fire that appeared in the BDN on Jan. 3.

I called Mickey Sirota, development director of the Pine Tree Chapter of the American Red Cross in Bangor, and he informed me the chapter has responded after nearly two dozen house fires in eastern and northern Maine since just before Thanksgiving.

“In that short time, the chapter’s Local Disaster Relief Fund has provided nearly $15,000 in direct assistance to local disaster victims for emergency shelter, food, clothing and emotional support,” Sirota said.

Since the Pine Tree Chapter receives no funds from the federal government, state of Maine or county government, “all local disaster assistance is a gift from Mainers who make donations to the local Red Cross,” he said, adding that “the Local Disaster Relief Fund is nearly depleted now.”

Donations can be made by calling the Pine Tree Chapter at 941-2903 in Bangor, online at www.pinetree.redcross.org or by mailing a donation to Pine Tree Chapter, 73 Hammond St. Suite 1, Bangor 04401.

Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; javerill@bangordailynews.com; 990-8288.

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