BERNARDS TOWNSHIP, NJ - A GoFundMe collection has been set up to assist a township family whose home was rendered uninhabitable by fire a week ago Thursday night.
As of Friday evening, March 13, the donation site on GoFundMe.com had collected more than $46,000 to help get the Mahdavian family back on their feet after a devastating home fire.
The fire at 221 Woods End Drive destroyed many of their belongings, but family members - and even their pet snake - managed to escape to safety, township officials said when the fund was mentioned at Tuesday night's Township Committee meeting.
The site says that $25,000 was raised the first day of the GoFundMe collection. The fund will help Sharif, Stacey, Anastasia, Andrew, and Alex Mahdavian "rebuild their lives [and] buy necessary staples," according to the GoFundMe site.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but it is not considered to have been of suspicious origin, according to Bernards Township police.
Township police said that on Thursday March 5, at approximately 10 p.m., Bernards Township emergency services responded to the report of a structure home at 221 Woods End in Basking Ridge.
The residents at the house, the Mahhavian family, were at home at the time, and were alerted by smoke detectors that a fire had broken out, according to a press release from township police.
All of the occupants, as well as the family dog, escaped uninjured, police said. There were also no reported injuries among emergency responders.
Members of the volunteer Liberty Corner Fire Company initially arrived at the burning house, and were able to eventually knock down the fire several hours later, according to the police report.
Fire seems to have started in laundry room, house left with "substantial" damage
The fire appeared to have started in the laundry room area of the home and quickly spread to the rest of the structure, police said. The home suffered substantial damage, according to police.
Visitors to the site can call up the specific spot to donate to the Mahdavian family fund by searching by email, or using this link.
"It is true that no belongings remain, but what has been restored from the ashes - the love, the compassion, the bond - can never be taken and will be a source of strength," the donation site says.
The site says the generosity of the Basking Ridge community "has been nothing short of inspirational."
"The road ahead will undoubtedly be difficult. When the practicality of 'You Can't Go Home Again' sets in, where does one turn? You have shown you are there. You, true friends, brought out the best. You have shouldered the tremendous burden and lightened the load."
Many responded to the fire scene that night
Among the agencies that responded to assist on the night of the fire, according to police, were the Liberty Corner Fire Co., Liberty Corner First Aid Squad, Basking Ridge Fire Co. & First Aid, Lyons Veterans Administration Fire Department, Bernardsville Fire Department and First Aid Squad, the Stirling Fire Department, Green Knoll First Aid Squad, Bernards Township Police Department, Bernard Township Office of Emergency Management, Bernards Township Department of Public Works and the Somerset County Office of Emergency Management.