Help for family that lost home to fire

WILMINGTON – The school community is planning to hold a fundraising dinner later this month to help a family whose house burned down Friday night.

Jason and Jenny Winch’s home on state Route 86 in Wilmington went up in flames Friday evening when the family was out of the house. The family lost a cat in the fire, but no people were hurt.

Wilmington fire Chief Lou Adragna told the Enterprise Wednesday he isn’t sure where the Winches were, but two teenagers walking by saw smoke and flames coming out of the kitchen and reported it at about 7:45 p.m.

“They were actually a very big help,” Adragna said.

Adragna didn’t have the exact address of the house, but he said it was near the town’s supermarket and behind the Nazarene church.

When firefighters arrived on the scene, the house was fully involved in flames, Adragna said.

“It looked like it started in the kitchen area,” he said. “As of this time now, we’re not sure what the cause was.”

Flames spread throughout the kitchen and to the attached, one-stall garage. All the cars were outside the garage at the time, Adragna said.

At first, only four firefighters were on the scene, so only two were fighting the fire, for what Adragna said seemed like 10 minutes. The teenagers helped set the truck up, he said.

Before long, more manpower showed up, and after that, it took maybe a half-hour to knock down the blaze, Adragna said.

Firefighters tried to keep as many of the Winches’ belongings as possible away from the water and flames, but with the smoke and heat, “a lot of it was ruined,” he said.

Adragna said the shell of the ranch-style house is still there, “but the whole inside was a total loss.”

Firefighters called in help from Jay and Upper Jay, with about 25 firefighters responding in total and two additional pumpers brought to the site, Adragna said.

Firefighters notified the Winches about the fire.

“They’re very well known in our town,” Adragna said.

Jenny Winch just started teaching fourth grade in the Lake Placid Central School District, and the couple has a daughter who attends seventh grade there as well.

School faculty decided to hold a dinner on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the middle/high school to raise funds to help the family. Takeout will be available at 3 p.m., and dinner will be served from 4 to 8:30 p.m.

“Whatever we can do to support their family would be much appreciated,” said school board member Jennifer Tufano when she shared information about the dinner at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

Organizers are also planning a raffle and are currently looking for raffle items.

Contact Jessica Collier at 891-2600 ext. 26 or