MEXICO, Maine — As firefighters began to extinguish the blaze at 300 River Road on Nov. 1, members of the River Valley community were already taking action.
While Nelson and Courtney Bisson watched their home and all their family’s belongings burn, Nelson’s mother, Linda Bisson, saw a neighbor from down the street bringing items for Nelson and Courtney’s 6-year-old daughter, Aubrie.
“It was from the moment that it happened that people started helping out,” Linda Bisson said. “It just been overwhelming. That woman brought toys, clothes and even Halloween candy as we stood there because she knew Aubrie had lost hers.”
The Bissons have three other children, a 15 year-old-boy, a 13-year-old-girl and a 10-year-old girl.
Aubrie was the only child in the home when the fire broke out.
“The blaze took over the house and smoke poured in so fast that Courtney forced Aubrie to the ground as they crawled out of the house,” Linda Bisson said.
Cindy Billings, owner of Simply Sweet Market and Bakery, which is across the street from the Bisson’s home, started taking donations the next day for the family.
“We complain about tons of stuff, town politics and gossip,” Billings said. “But when something like this happens, all that goes out the window or put on the back burner, and we come together for each other.”
The Bissons are grateful to Billings and everyone who has helped to organize the donations that have been pouring in. The family had concerns about taking large donation items because they have no place to store them.
“Cindy has let the front of her store become a storage place for us and even managed to get a donation of a free storage unit from Chris Dailey in Canton,” Linda Bisson said.
Billings is also trying to help the family find a home for two of the four family dogs. Nelson Bisson received burns from the intensity of the fire to his ears, cheeks, and hands when he went back inside the home to let the dogs out of their kennels.
All four dogs survived, but a cat and kitten were lost in the blaze. The Bissons are hoping to find a caring home for the two 14-month-old mixed breed dogs because they no longer have the room to care for them.
The biggest hurdle left for the family is to find a way to pay for the removal of the debris left over from the fire. Todd Wardwell of TW Lawn Care has offered a discount on his services to clean up the property.
The Bisson’s, who did not have insurance on the house, will have to come up with $3,500 to pay for the rest. The family is also looking at purchasing a trailer to put on the property to replace the home they lost.
“We could have been burying more than a house,” Linda Bisson said. “Thank God it was only a house. I’m just in awe of the community at this point. It’s unbelievable.”
The support hasn’t stopped with just one family. On Sunday night Linda Bisson learned of a fire in West Paris that left a family of six homeless. Linda was inquiring with the Red Cross on how to help that family just as others had helped hers.
(c)2011 the Sun Journal (Lewiston, Maine)
Distributed by MCT Information Services