Fire-fighting family loses their own home

Gwen Chamberlain
The Slocum family of four lost everything in the fire that consumed their Champlin Road house March 15.

A family of four and a visiting grandchild escaped their Champlin Road home just after 7 p.m. Sunday, March 15, before the structure became fully involved in a fire that started in their attached garage.

George Slocum 47, Denise Slocum, 41, Dakota Hanes, 17, Sabrina Slocum, 16, and Payton Allison, 2 of Penn Yan, all evacuated the house before firefighters arrived at the two-story Greek revival. The house is located at the top of a steep, winding hill where the views of Guyanoga Valley are spectacular.

Firefighters from Branchport/Keuka Park, Penn Yan, Rushville, Middlesex, Benton, Potter, Bellona and Prattsburgh Fire Departments, and were supported by Penn Yan Area Volunteer Ambulance Corps. Representatives from Red Cross were also called to the scene to assist the family.

Fire volunteers from Branchport/Keuka Park were on the scene until after midnight, but others from nieghboring departments were released by about 10 p.m.

Yates County Sheriff Investigator Patrick Manahan says the fire was caused either by overloaded wiring or a heat lamp used for a chicken coop. A final determination is expected by the end of the week.

Members of the Slocum family have been active in fire fighting in Dresden and Branchport/Keuka Park for years. In fact, Denise, who started as a junior firefighter in Dresden at age 13, organized the first all-female firefighter team to compete in the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York Winter games in February.

The family has also been active in other community and school organizations, notably 4-H and FFA at Penn Yan Academy.

As a family that has found ways to help others in need over the years, they now find themselves in need. A Go Fund Me page has been set up for the Slocum family.

Articles are also being collected at the Penn Yan Methodist Church and the Branchport Fire Department. The family is looking for a place to live in the Branchport area.