Relief effort underway after fatal fire

BRIDGEVILLE – A compassionate, community-wide relief effort is underway following a tragic house fire that claimed the life of a 90-year-old Bridgeville woman six days before Christmas.

Four other family members escaped the Dec. 18 fire that destroyed the home in the 14000 block of Sussex Highway.

The family lost not only a family member, but their home and all personal belongings.

This tragedy struck home in the Woodbridge School District, where Dorothy “Dot” Cannon, who perished in the blaze, was a former teacher in the district. Two of her great-grandchildren are students in the Woodbridge district.

“They are both middle schoolers,” said Woodbridge School District Superintendent Heath Chasanov. “Their great-grandmother who passed away was a former teacher of ours, years ago – Dorothy Cannon. She was a home economics teacher. I think she retired in 1986 when I was a junior in high school at the time. So, it does touch our family pretty deep.”

In addition to support from the Woodbridge School District, the Good Ole Boy Foundation along with Courtney Dunn Short initially teamed up to spearhead one of the relief efforts. Right now, because of storage constraints, gift cards are best, said Good Ole Boy Foundation spokesman Josh Wharton.

Gently used clothing is also welcome, in the following gender/sizes:

• Daughter: Size 14 slim pants, M/L shirt, size 4.5/5 shoe;

• Son: Size 32/32 pants, men’s S shirt, size 8 shoe;

• Woman: Size 9 pants, woman’s M shirt, size 8/8.5 shoe;

• Man: Size 34 or 36 pants, men’s L shirt, size 9.5/10 shoe.

Personal hygiene products (soap, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.) are also needed.

Woodbridge Middle School, located at 307 S. Laws Street, is a prime drop-off location before winter break.

Compassionate response has been overwhelming from schools in the Woodbridge district, the community and beyond, Mr. Chasanov said.

“The community support has been unbelievable. It has been heartwarming after the tragedy – a lot of monetary donations, a lot of physical and clothing donations and those kinds of things,” said Mr. Chasanov. “And the community groups are doing some wonderful things.”

Relief efforts include a monetary pledge from Greenwood-based Bay to Beach Builders to support this family by donating $2 up to $5,000 for every “Share” of this Facebook post about the fire:

As of 5 p.m., Thursday afternoon, Bay to Beach Builders’ pledge was met as their Facebook post had more than 10,000 “Shares.”

Bay to Beach Builders, it should be noted, is not a drop-off site for donations.

A separate GoFundMe page – the link is: gf.me/u/pfnzcd – had raised more than $5,600 by Thursday afternoon, with donations still welcome.

The Dec. 18 fire was reported just before 10 p.m., according to Assistant State Fire Marshal Michael G. Chionchio, Dec. 18.

Firefighters from the Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Company found the home engulfed in flames and one person deceased inside the home, Mr. Chionchio said.

State fire investigators are seeking to determine the origin and cause of the fire. An autopsy of the victim was to be conducted by the Division of Forensic Science.

Fire damage was estimated at $100,000, Mr. Chionchio said.

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