ROXBURY, NJ – A number of fundraisers - including an impromptu comedy show - have been launched on behalf of a Succasunna man whose house caught fire last week leaving him and his dog temporarily homeless.
The man, John MacDonald, 42, of 45 Paul Drive, was at home with his dog, Chloe Lynn, when the Oct. 12 fire took place at about 1 p.m., according to his aunt, Deb Bischoff. She said her nephew was downstairs doing laundry at the time.
“The electricity went off, so he flipped the breaker back on and it flipped off again,” she said. “He called a friend who is a licensed electrician but got his voicemail. In the meantime, Chloe Lynn came running downstairs.”
Bischoff, noting the dog “never goes downstairs,” was barking. MacDonald went upstairs to see what was agitating his companion. Upon seeing smoke, he went back downstairs to turn off the main electrical breaker and ran out on the back deck with Chloe Lynn.
While MacDonald was calling the Roxbury Fire Department, a neighbor was spraying water from a garden hose in an effort to keep the growing flames at bay, Bischoff said.
“The whole back of the house was on fire,” she said. “The dog was the one who alerted him. He had no idea.”
Fundraisers and Comedy Show
MacDonald and Chloe Lynn are temporarily being housed in a hotel, said Bischoff, who launched a Facebook fundraiser on behalf of MacDonald.
Another Facebook fundraiser was started by The Friends of Roxbury Social Services.
Comedian Sean Morton, who said he’s known MacDonald since they were children growing up together in Bayonne, decided to host a comedy night on behalf of MacDonald. The BYOB event, to take place Dec. 7 at the Roxbury Fire Co. 1 firehouse on Main Street in Succasunna, will feature performances by Morton, John Kurschner and Donna Vaicels. Tickets will be $40 with all proceeds going to MacDonald.
“I’ve known John since we were six or seven years old,” Morton said. “I heard about the fire last week. Being that we comedians do a ton of these fundraisers, I decided it would be the right thing to do and I hope we are going to raise a lot of money.”
He said MacDonald and his parents moved to Roxbury when MacDonald was young. “He’s been taking care of his parents forever,” Morton noted, stressing that the incident was made even more tragic due to the fact that his friend’s “dad passed away just last month.”
Still Grieving Dad's Death
Bischoff said her brother-in-law Archie, MacDonald, died Sept. 18. Her sister, Christina, died about six years ago, she said.
“John was taking care of his dad,” she said. “And before that he was taking care of my sister.” She said MacDonald “has limited funds,” having just paid for his father’s funeral.
The MacDonalds’ homeowner’s insurance policy will cover rebuilding the house, but will not provide any money for lost contents, mortgage payments or other expenses, Bischoff said.
She said MacDonald is “sort of in shock,” over the incident. “He hasn’t even had a chance to grieve his dad’s passing,” she added.
Bischoff said officials are “pretty sure it was an electrical problem” that started the fire. Roxbury Fire Official Mike Pellek could not be reached today for comment.
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