NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – The Northbridge Middle School is accepting gift card donations to help defray some of the costs Sherry Coger and her family faces after fire drove them from their home Monday night.
Coger, her boyfriend, 11- and 19-year-old sons and 10-year-old grandson were tenants in a home at 2683 Providence Road owned by Denise and Roger Mathieu.
Coger has another son serving serving his fourth tour of duty in Afghanistan, she said.
Fire broke out in a closet, and the cause is still under investigation, Fire Chief Gary Nestor said on Tuesday. “The guys did a good job of keeping it contained,’’ Nestor said, but the home sustained about $20,000 in damage, most of it from heat and smoke.
Homeowners insurance will cover the cost of repairs, and the cleaning and painting that will likely be necessary, Nestor said, but homeowners insurance does not cover tenant belongings.
“We have no insurance, no nothing,” Coger said.
Her two younger boys, the oldest with muscular dystrophy, are students at Northbridge Middle School. Community members who would like to help may drop off gift cards to the school on Linwood Avenue, Adjustment Counselor Kayla Dewees said.
Coger said she and her family have had their share of hard knocks lately, including a job loss and many car breakdowns. “Just when you think you have a chance of catching up, something else happens,’’ she said Tuesday afternoon.
The Red Cross paid for two nights at the Econo Lodge in Sutton, but Coger she doesn’t know where they’ll go on Wednesday.
She credits a dog they got a few weeks ago for alerting the family that there was something wrong. She said she’d gone down to the lower level to talk to the boys. The dog, which follows her everywhere, stood at the top of the stairs barking incessantly.. She went upstairs to see what was wrong and found the first floor quickly filling with smoke.
They got out of the house and called the Fire Department. First firefighters on the scene reported heavy smoke in the home, which is next door to Romer’s Kart Shop.