Fundraiser held for Altamont fire victims

ALTAMONT, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Altamont community has been hit hard in the past four weeks with three house fires.

The families of the three fires are left with little to none, but on Friday night the Altamont community immediately responded by purchasing meals and donating money that’ll help the victims.

The most recent fire was Tuesday morning on Gardner Road. The home belonged to Paul and Theresa Oliver. Their son, David Filkins, says he lived there since he was 14.

“You’ll rebound and rebuild. The blood, sweat and tears that you put into a place can’t be replaced,” Filkins said.

Filkins says what started out as a small house and quickly expanded over the years.

“You know, you watch 25 years of hard work and dreams sort of go up in smoke.”

While the home is no longer there, something ironic happened, possibly a sign of fate.

The night before the fire, Filkins’ mother put her wedding ring on a windowsill.

A few hours later, smoke and flames took over and water was spraying at the home for several hours.

Through all of that, a firefighter found the wedding ring, in the exact same spot, it had never moved.

“For people who believe in fate, or intervention or things like that, there’s not many ways to explain it,” Filkins said.

Recently, a family friend of theirs welcomed them to live in their home.  To see the amount of strangers chip in to help, Filkins says he couldn’t be more grateful.

“This community here is really tight-knit, so they are very supportive of everyone. As soon as we decided to kind of change gears, and make it for the families, it was an immediate outpour of support,” Kyle Haines, Altamont Fire Dept. Assistant Chief, said.

Haines sent out one message tonight in light of fire prevention week – the importance of having a smoke detector that works, so another devastating fire can be prevented.

The fire department raised over $5,000 and sold over 200 meals, an amount that exceeded their expectations.

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