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Fire destroys Spencer Street home

WINSTED — A fire that destroyed a home at 133 Spencer St. on Sunday, Feb. 19, has left a local family homeless.“We’ve lost everything,” said Dawn Lagassie, who has lived at the residence with her fiancé, Charles Jones, and her three children since buying it in 2010. “Everything that was in the house, including our clothes and furniture, was all destroyed in the fire.”Lagassie was on a snowmobiling trip in Maine with her 13-year-old daughter, Caylin, when the fire broke out. Jones was out for an early-morning walk with the family dogs and Lagassie’s son, 14-year-old Chance.“I got a phone call from Adam [Lagassie’s 20-year-old son], who was staying at a friend’s house,” Jones said. “He told me that the neighbors had called the fire department because the house was on fire. It was totally on fire when I got back.”Smoke from the fire had engulfed the house and was billowing from the windows.Residents looked on from a distance in shock.At the fire scene, members of the family were too shaken to be interviewed as firefighters surrounded the blaze, frantically trying to contain it.Winsted Fire Chief Robert Shopey said six fire engines and more than 60 firefighters from the Winsted Fire Department responded to the fire, and the fire was contained in about an hour. One firefighter fractured his finger fighting the blaze.Firefighters said the fire started either in the basement or on the first floor. There was speculation that the fire may have been caused by faulty wiring. Jones said he has been told by fire officials that the cause of the fire was most likely electrical, but he said he had not been aware of electrical problems in the house.The family owns four cats, three dogs, a rabbit and and a snake. Just one pet, the cat Maya, died in the fire.“She was such an awesome cat,” Jones said. “She was only 1 year old. We took her to last year’s Pet Parade and even to a frog jumping contest in Colebrook. She was such a loving and caring cat.”The three surviving cats escaped out the front door when firefighters entered the house.As of Monday, the house was vacant and had been boarded up. Charred furniture was scattered in the front yard.Lagassie said it is likely the house will be torn down.She said the disaster has turned her life upside-down and she does not know where her family, now homeless, will live.“Our neighbors have been very helpful, and we’ve gotten clothing donations from them,” she said. “The Red Cross has put us up in a motel for a few days, but I don’t know where we will all go from here.”Lagassie said she thinks her insurance company will cover the loss of the house.“They are working with me,” she said. “I don’t know where we will live. We’re all just taking this a day at a time.”

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