Community rallies to help Ottobine family displaced by house fire

Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 9:32 PM EST
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OTTOBINE, Va. (WHSV) - A family of six in Rockingham County had most of their home and possessions destroyed in a house fire early Sunday morning. Now, the surrounding community is doing what it can to help them rebuild.

“Brian and Becky have dedicated their lives to helping other people so anything that we can do to just help them out, bring a smile on their face, to help meet their needs so that way they don’t have to worry, would go so far for them,” said Pastor Ryan Cooper of Beaver Creek Church of the Brethren.

On Sunday, the Whitmore family was awakened by the smell of smoke and quickly realized their house burning.

They were able to evacuate their four children, dog, and guinea pig but lost nearly everything that was in their home.

Now, their church is leading the effort to lend them a hand.

“It doesn’t take much to be a good neighbor. To see those that are around that are in need. To look at what you have and say ‘what can I give to help those around?’, and right now our need is Brian and Becky. Tomorrow it could be someone else,” said Cooper.

Beaver Creek Church of the Brethren is collecting monetary donations for the family on their website. People can also fill out a google doc to sign up to donate items in the near future once the family figures out all of their needs.

“Once they actually have a place to move into and you need beds for six people, well where can I find all that furniture in a rapid way? So, this complies a list it gives us the ability to call and say ‘ok they need a queen sized bed, so this individual has a queen sized bed let’s go get it,’” said Cooper.

The Whitmore family is currently displaced and is figuring out their next move, but said they do have a number of options for temporary places to stay.

Members of the family said they have been blown away by the generosity and outpouring of support from their community.

“At least $6,000 have come through the doors of our church, whether it is through a special offering we collected, what’s already been given online, checks that have been hand delivered to me this morning,” said Cooper.

A GoFundMe was also started by one of the family’s loved ones that has also raised over $6,000. A number of clothes have also been collected by the church for the family.

Rockingham County fire officials believe the blaze started in a trash can behind the home, but have not been able to determine a cause.

You can donate to the church’s relief effort for the Whitmore family here and to the GoFundMe here.

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