I write this in sight of the smoldering ruins of the homes of several families and our post office here in Burkittsville.

Dozens of firefighters swarm around making sure every curl of smoke is doused. On behalf of the town of Burkittsville, I recognize and thank the fire companies and EMS of Adamstown, Boonsboro, Braddock Heights, Independent Hose, Jefferson, Lovettsville, Middletown, Rohrersville, Sharpsburg, Wolfsville and all the other companies and volunteers who kept this disaster from afflicting more people. We are also thankful for the Red Cross and the help they are providing.

My heart aches for the families who lost most everything to the flames. As I sit here, the mayor and council are coordinating donations and making sure each family and their pets have a place to go. St. Paul’s Lutheran Church across the street has opened its doors and members have made a small breakfast for the families. They are collecting donations of food, clothes, pet supplies, feminine hygiene and more. A gentleman just came in with a tote full of frozen food he pulled out of his freezer. Right behind him, a lady came in hauling a 57-pound bag of dog food. People I don’t recognize are arriving with items in hand: coats, socks, shoes and more. Please consider reaching out to the town of Burkittsville on Facebook and asking how you can contribute.

Take some time to think about what you can do to keep your family and pets safe: Check smoke alarms, don’t overload electrical outlets, and keep a fire extinguisher up to date. You can find more information at www.frederickcountymd.gov/1324/Fire-and-Injury-Prevention.

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