Thank You For Response to Fire

By Cindy Benson
Cindy Benson’s house on Poplar Street escaped serious
damage in December, when a serious fire started in the attached barn
resulting in an 8-town fire alarm.  Photo: Lindsey Allenby

 To the Editor,
Mr. Rogers said, “When you see something scary, look for the helpers.” I Can attest to the fact that when something bad happens, there are helpers to Be found. On Wednesday afternoon, December 11, a fire started in my 200 plus year old post and beam barn because of a careless error I made disposing Of old wood stove ashes I thought were no longer live. (The Andover fire
Chief says it take TWO WEEKS before you can be sure ashes are no longer combustible!) 18 hours later, the fire started at 1:30 PM. I was 45 Minutes away at the time, but because of the amazing response of my neighbors, Some strangers passing by, and an 8-town fire alarm, the fire was totally out 45 minutes later when I arrived home.

Thank you to “Boomer,” the guy in the orange shirt from Franklin who was The first one on the scene, running over from the gas station when he heard someone say they saw smoke and knocking on all my doors to make sure no One was inside. (He was also the last one on the scene because it turns out He’s an electrician and was able to check everything in the barn and house and get my house back up and running.) Thank you to Brad Hardie, my next door
neighbor and retired professional fire fighter, who happened to be home on A weekday afternoon and arrived around the same time, calling 911. His expertise was invaluable. And for the quick response of the Andover Fire Department right down the road and the other 8 towns who sent their Engines and volunteers, I am forever grateful.

Thank you to my daughter Lindsey Allenby, who came right over from work And called me, and for all the neighbors and friends who gathered to support Her through the whole scare. Because of so many people, many I don’t even Know, my house is unscathed and my barn is still standing, although it remains To be seen what can be salvaged. One neighbor offered their AirBnB space for eight days while my house was being cleaned from smoke damage; another
neighbor offered her barn for temporary storage; other neighbors offered expertise and advice with insurance, construction, and decisions that have to be made.

I feel completely surrounded by supportive, competent, loving people, and I couldn’t be more grateful. It will be a process to clean out and figure Out the losses, but most importantly, I am safe, my house is intact, and I Know without a doubt I live in the best neighborhood and town in the world! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! And be safe, everybody!!

Take care,
Cindy Benson
7 Poplar Street, Andover