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The Berkshires

Firehouse holds fundraiser for fire victims

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Albany/HV: Firehouse holds fundraiser for fire victims
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A benefit was held at the Eagle Mills Volunteer Fire House for the family who lost their home in a fire Monday in the Town of Brunswick. Our Brooke Selby has more on how this community is stepping up to help.

BRUNSWICK, N.Y. -- "When I first walked up there and saw the flames, it kind of brings you to your knees," said Irene Pietro of Brunswick.

After the Pietro family lost their Brunswick home in a fire last Monday, they received a $1,400 bill from the neighboring Town of Poestenkill for the extra water firemen used to help beat the flames. So the same first responders who battled the fire stepped up to help the family battle the bill by hosting a fundraiser at the fire house.

Eagle Mills Volunteer Fire Department Chief Thomas Martin said, "We've been doing a benefit for the Pietro family after they were burned out at 375 Garfield Road to try to raise money to offset any out of pocket expenses they may have occurred after the fire."

For Pietro who lost her home, this is the first time she has ever even attended a benefit and it's in her honor.

Pietero said, "This is very heartwarming. We appreciate everything everybody is doing. Everybody has been fantastic. We just don't know how to handle it."

Many of the people at the benefit understand that someone needs to pay the bill, but the real concern for many donating to the family was the timing of the bill.

Mike Pietro said, “The house was literally still smoldering when I opened up the bill."

The Poestenkill Town Supervisor says they issued the bill to recover the resources put out by taxpayers because the Eagle Mills Fire Department had to use their water.

Representative Steve McLaughlin said, "So I think it's sort of where bureaucracy pops up, bad things can happen, so sometimes you have to take away all the rules you put in place and talk about the human aspect of it and say what is the right thing to do here."

And hosting this benefit is an opportunity for residents of both communities to help do just that.

Mike Pietero said, "it's very humbling and to see all the people here to come out to support us, words can't express my gratitude to the people, just the support, the offers of help.”

Proving that multiple communities can pull together in a time of need.

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