SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

January 5, 2013

Fund set up to aid family who lost home in fire

BY ETHAN FORMAN
STAFF WRITER

---- — SWAMPSCOTT — A fund has been set up at Salem Five Bank to help the Ghirardini family who lost their home, and the family dog, in a fire at 50 Andrew Road Thursday morning.

Even before the bank opened yesterday, Pavlina Sanborn, the retail business development representative at the branch in Vinnin Square, said she was fielding inquiries from people wanting to give.

The home of Peter and Laura Ghirardini and their four children went up in flames on a frigid morning with temperatures that hampered firefighting efforts.

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries fighting the stubborn blaze, which was confined to the house where it started.

A statement from state Fire Marshal Stephen Coan and Swampscott Fire Chief Kevin F. Breen said the cause was accidental.

“The investigative team has determined that the fire started at the stove,” the statement said. “Whether the occupants inadvertently left the stove on or the dog accidentally turned it on ‘counter surfing’ as this dog sometimes did, cannot be known.”

No one was home when the fire broke out just after 9 a.m., but the dog died in fire. Damages to the home are estimated at $250,000 to $300,000.

The State Police assigned to the office of the State Fire Marshal and the Swampscott Fire Department with assistance from the Lynn Fire Department, investigated the fire.

The structure has been boarded up, the gas lines are being capped and the building is condemned, Deputy fire Chief James Potts said.

Salem Five’s Pavlina said those who want to donate can do so at the branch at 450 Paradise Road, or at any Salem Five branch. Those making the donation should make sure the Ghirardini family’s name is on the check or the envelope to make sure it is credited to the Ghirardini Family Fund.

Other grassroots efforts are also ongoing. The Class of 2014 at Swampscott High is donating the proceeds from a practice SAT test today, according to Joseph Bennett, the driver education director and class advisor.

People may also drop off gift card donations or checks at Swampscott High between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. weekly.

The UNO restaurant in Vinnin Square is also hosting a “dough raiser” fundraiser through Monday. A special ticket is required so that a portion of the bill can be donated to the family.

“I know the outpouring of support for them has been incredible,” said Laura DeMartino of Connecticut, the sister of Peter Ghirardini, in an email. “They have appreciated everything people have done for them during this tragedy.”

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.