Relief Effort Underway For Family in Tree Fire

Puppy among victims of Baden blaze

Sunday, Jan 8, 2012  |  Updated 6:07 AM EDT
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News4's Jackie Bensen reports on efforts to aid a Prince George's County family who lost their home in a fire caused by a dry Christmas tree

Jackie Bensen

News4's Jackie Bensen reports on efforts to aid a Prince George's County family who lost their home in a fire caused by a dry Christmas tree

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Students at a Prince George's County elementary school are undertaking to help a family who lost their home and several personal possessions in a house fire on Thursday evening.

Investigators say that the house in the 16200 block of Ashbox Road caught fire after an electrical short ignited a dry Christmas tree. The family, a 31-year-old mother and her 6-year-old daughter, managed to escape the flames with minor burns. However, the house was rendered uninhabitable by the blaze and several household possessions, including a 4-month-old puppy that the daughter had received for a Christmas present, were lost.

The principal of the Baden Elementary School, Danielle Goddard, is leading an effort to aid the family, who are temporarily staying with relatives.

In an email to staff members, Goddard said "The family is not one of our school families, but I feel compelled to offer assistance despite never meeting them. As to not overwhelm the family with items, we'll collect gift cards (any amount, any place) and cash to assist with food, clothing, personal items and any other needs."

In a statement released by the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department, Goddard said, " I don't know the family personally and the young daughter doesn't attend our school, but feel very strongly that local public schools serve as a community liaison especially during such a tragedy. The Baden Community is very strong in serving and we'd like to do anything possible to offer assistance. We're not sure where the family is at this time, but once mom and daughter are settled and at their leisure we'd like to deliver our donations personally."

Donations can be sent to Baden Elementary School, 13601 Baden Westwood Road, Brandywine, MD, 20613. Checks should be made out to cash with the notation "Ashbox Relief Effort."

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