Earlier this month, a fast-moving fire broke out in the Stratford home of Jerry Bowers.
The 1995 Staples grad and his 88-year-old father, Gerald, managed to escape through a side window, with the help of a police officer who happened to pass by. Jerry’s wife Jen was not home at the time.
The fire — caused by an 8-year-old flat-screen television set, and fed by a nearby oxygen tank — destroyed the Bowers’ home, their belongings, and their memories.
But the story gets worse.
Three cats and a dog died in the blaze. Another cat and dog were saved. But the bill from Snowflake Pet Center in Milford was $987.
Jerry’s sister Tammy said the hospital would not let her pay in installments. She called organizations around the state for help. They offered money for electric bills, food vouchers and clothing. But they could not help with pet care. Finally, California based United Animal Nations donated $300.
The rest of the funds came from her father’s ex-wife, who had been saving to buy new garage doors.
The story gets even worse than that.
Two televisions, dozens of video games and several pieces of jewelry — worth $15,000 — were then stolen from the boarded-up, uninhabited home. They were among the few salvageable possessions, left while the Bowers waited for an insurance assessor’s visit.
“You never know what you have until you lose it,” Jerry and Jen say.
Wedding gifts were still in boxes when the fire swept through.
The couple had just used all their savings to remodel their kitchen.
And now, Jerry is out of work.
Friends have set up a page on the GiveForward website to help the Bowerses. In just 3 days many Westporters have rallied around the family, donating money and adding words of encouragement to the website.
Click here to help.