TOWNSEND -- After a fire on Black Friday left their home of 26 years in shambles, the Coble family is beginning to pick up the pieces at 20 Worcester Road.
Simone Coble said that through the kindness of strangers, the beginnings of the recovery process have been easier than anticipated, allowing herself, her husband David and her 30-year-old son Andrew to begin moving forward.
"We're not going to have Christmas at the Cobles," she said, laughing. "But we certainly have enough friends and family that we can stay with, and we're going to be OK."
But although they have had help, Coble said the fire was still a shock.
"You're kind of in shock and the uncertainty of what's going to happen. I didn't really know for sure and I still don't know for sure," she said.
The fire began in Andrew Coble's room around 11 a.m. on Nov. 29, the day after Thanksgiving. Although an official cause has not been determined, Simone Coble said the Fire Department told them it was caused by either a match in the wastebasket or electrical wiring.
Although Andrew's room was destroyed in the blaze, Simone Coble said she believes the house is salvageable. Much of the rest of the home, including the basement, suffered water damage while the fire was being put out, as well as smoke damage. Firefighters also made a hole in the bedroom roof to ventilate the fire.
Coble said her son Andrew lost the most in the fire, many of his belongings sitting in a heap of half-burned clothing and furniture in front of the house.
"All of the pictures, and all of his memories and his clothing, all of his possessions burned," she said.
A diamond ring his grandfather had given him, which had been in the family for many years, was found undamaged among the wreckage.
"He was really happy because that was irreplaceable," she said.
While the family awaits word from their insurance company about the extent of the damage, they have been living in a nearby motel.
The Red Cross assisted by paying for a three-night stay at the motel as well as giving the family money for food and clothing.
When the three went out to dinner at Outback Steakhouse, the manager paid for the meal. Since the Cobles didn't have cash to tip with, a customer at a neighboring table covered the waitress's tip.
The generosity of the community has gone beyond companies and organizations, with individuals reaching out to help as well.
After the fire, Simone said, one man came to her house and handed her $100. Although she said she tried to refuse the money, he insisted that she take it.
"Tragedies like this make you realize how wonderful your neighbors are. Everybody came around and brought blankets and coffee, and the Red Cross was phenomenal," she said.
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