Mashpee Moves To Support The Mackies After Their Home Is Destroyed By Fire
By: Geoff Spillane
Townspeople have rallied around a Mashpee family following a fire that completely destroyed their Deer Ridge Road home during the height of last Saturday’s snowstorm.
Since word of the tragedy spread through town and on social media sites, donations of clothing, cash, household goods, gift cards, school supplies, and services have been pouring in for single mother Christine Mackie and her three children: Luke, 14; Joe, 12; and Erin, 10.
Mashpee Fire Chief George W. Baker Jr. said the fire at the two-story colonial style home was caused by careless disposal of cooking debris, and is considered accidental.
According to Chief Baker, there is physical evidence that a plastic microwaveable container was placed in an oven by one of the children, caught fire, and was disposed of in a trash can in the garage. An open door between the garage and the house accelerated the progression of the flames to the main living area, he said.
“This was one of the more significant fires I have seen in Mashpee in several years,” Chief Baker said.
Luke Mackie, a student at Cape Cod Regional Technical High School in Harwich, was treated for minor smoke inhalation at Falmouth Hospital and released later in the day.
The first alarm was sounded as heavy snow and high winds were battering the region, and the Mashpee Fire Department was responding to a series of storm-related incidents, including a car that skidded off of Red Brook Road and into a pond. All on-duty fire department resources were responding to calls at the time, but were quickly diverted to the fire scene, Chief Baker said, noting that it was “tough going” Capewide.
Due to road conditions at the time, it took the first responders 18 minutes to arrive on the scene, as opposed to the 10 to 12 minutes that Chief Baker said was typical to reach that particular part of town. Deer Ridge Road is situated on the east side of Santuit Pond near the Barnstable town line, and is located about as far away from the main Mashpee fire station as possible and still be within the town limits.
Crews from Cotuit and Sandwich provided mutual aid assistance to the Mashpee Fire Department.
Within hours of the fire, efforts were underway in the community and in cyberspace to assist the Mackie family. The family is temporarily living in an unoccupied home in New Seabury, which was provided by a family friend.
As of press time, a Mackie Family Fire Fund page on the WePay online donation website had raised nearly $13,000, and a Facebook page dedicated to the family had more than 150 followers.
Donations can also be made at the Citizens’ Bank branch inside the Mashpee Stop & Shop, or via mail, care of “Mackie Family Fire Fund,” PO Box 2195, Mashpee, MA 02649.
Upon hearing of the fire, Ryan Hewson, owner of Mocean in Mashpee Commons, sprang into action, soliciting donations on Facebook and offering the family to take whatever clothing they needed from the store, in order to get the children back to some sense of normalcy as soon as possible. According to Mr. Hewson, his fellow Mashpee Commons shop owners were among the first to donate, and a woman called the store to purchase backpacks for the three children.
Mr. Hewson said he did not know Ms. Mackie, but when she walked into the store, he recognized her from the gym. “It was the right thing to do. This is a small community with a big circle of acquaintances,” he said.
Kaitlyn E. McGinnis, a friend of Ms. Mackie’s, said she organized a “pass the hat” fundraiser at Dino’s Sports Bar during Sunday’s Patriots AFC championship game, raising nearly $600 for the family.
Hats will be passed again tonight, at Bobby Byrne’s Restaurant & Pub in Mashpee Commons, from 7 PM to 10 PM.
On Sunday, the Cape Cod Children’s Museum on Great Neck Road South will host a pizza party from 5 to 7 PM, and attendees are urged to bring any photographs they may have of the Mackie family. Suggested donation is $10 per person or $25 per family. Barbara L. Cotton, director of the museum, said she was overwhelmed by the response of the community and that it would be “hard to think about living anywhere else.”
A silent auction and 50/50 raffle will be held next Thursday from 5 to 9 PM at Carbo’s Bar & Grille in Deer Crossing, and a “Dining for a Cause” event will be held at the Ninety Nine Restaurant on Monday, February 6. A wine pairing fundraising event is scheduled for Thursday, March 8, at Soprano’s Ristorante.
In addition, a fundraising fashion show sponsored by White House Black Market, and an event at the Coonamessett Inn are also in the planning stages.
Responding to one of the 52 missed calls she had yesterday morning, an emotional Ms. Mackie said that she has been overwhelmed with the generosity of the community and her hometown of Weymouth and that it has restored her faith in mankind.
“I am overwhelmed by everyone’s compassion,” Ms. Mackie posted in a statement on her Facebook page. “My family and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
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