Family safe after fire tears through home

Jun 11, 2021

A Dartmouth family of 16 is safe after escaping a fire that engulfed their home June 11.

According to District 3 Fire Chief Richard Arruda, crews were first alerted to a call of fire and smoke coming from the front of the 817 Reed Road property at 11:12 a.m.

“The whole front of the house was on fire by the time we got here,” he said.

Additional crews from districts 1, 2, and Westport were also called to provide assistance.

The cause of the fire, Arruda said, is currently unknown. He added that it was not intentional.

“The wind probably had some effect on the spread,” the chief said.

Everyone, including the family’s pets, got out of the burning house safely. 

Resident David Bumpus was in his bedroom when he first noticed the smell of something burning. Wondering what the smell was, he said, his sister-in-law went downstairs only to see the front door engulfed in flames.

“We couldn’t go out of that front staircase,” he noted. “Luckily we were all able to get out the back.” 

Bumpus added that nine of the family’s children were thankfully at school. In total, 16 people live in the intergenerational household.

His 22-year-old son Devan was still asleep with the dogs when the fire first happened.

“Last night, I was watching a movie and was on the phone with my girlfriend, then went to sleep happy,” Devan said. “I wake up, and my house is on fire.”

According to Arruda, the American Red Cross will work to help decide the post-fire needs of the family.

Bumpus’ niece Nicole Collett noted that the family is currently staying at a hotel in town.

“They’re just trying to get by day by day,” she said.

Two online fundraisers — a Facebook fundraiser run by Collet and a GoFundMe by her cousin Brandi Silva — have been set up to supply the family with donations of toiletries, food, bedding, and clothing.

So far, the GoFundMe has raised more than $3,500.

Bumpus noted that “everything was lost” in the fire — including classic comic books and a Babe Ruth baseball card he was hoping to pass down through the family.

The only materials the family were able to get out of the house, Bumpus said, were the clothes they were wearing, his wife’s pocketbook, and their childrens’ medications.

“Our lives are okay, but everything we’ve ever owned is gone,” he said. “We can’t replace all of that.” 

Family friend Heather Trombly was especially heartbroken to see this happen to a family she said “pretty much adopted me,” saying that the family often takes care of homeless youth.

“It’s awful that this happened — these are amazing people,” she said.