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Kent community rallies to support family after devastating fire

April 2, 2019 GMT

KENT — The community has been rallying to support a local family of six that lost their dog and their home to a fire Sunday.

Firefighters responded to 17 Tamshell Drive around 4:40 p.m., where they found a working fire with heavy smoke.

Several nearby towns sent mutual aid to the scene of the fully engulfed, 4,000-square-foot home, including — but not limited to — New Milford, Roxbury and Washington.

First Selectman Bruce Adams said firefighters were on scene for about eight hours, and they were called back early the next morning after the house “flamed back up.”

There were no reported injuries, said Adams.

Fire Marshal Stanley MacMillan said the fire was accidentally caused by the misuse of a work light.

“I know from personal experience that work lights can get very hot,” Adams said. “I don’t know exactly what happened, but perhaps it was left on too close to paper or something.”

The five-bedroom Colonial-style house in Kent Hollow was the home of Kim and Marika Coolbeth and their four children.

None of them were home when the fire broke out. The family dog, however, died in the fire.

The flames gutted the home, displacing the Coolbeths. Adams said the family is currently staying at a relative’s house in a nearby town.

“When the scene was under control and hose and gear was picked up, the Coolbeth family’s home was a total loss, watching from the sidelines with only the clothes they were wearing,” the Kent Volunteer Fire Department posted on Facebook Tuesday.

Since the fire, Adams said, the town of Kent has been “rallying in support” of the Coolbeths.

Michelle Mott, principal of the Kent Center School, started the GoFundMe page for the Coolbeths, who have been “part of the Kent community for many years,” she wrote.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the GoFundMe page had raised more than $13,000. To make a donation, visit https://bit.ly/2ODmVjD.

Sarah Adams, who lives across the street from the Coolbeths, started a Meal Train so the family doesn’t have worry about food. People can sign up to make a meal for the family at https://bit.ly/2VdpfAa.

The Kent Center School is also is collecting gift cards for the family, according to the volunteer fire department.

kendra.baker@hearst.com