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Linda Kellett - Family members and friends stand on the lawn in front of the August Florian family home on Fordsbush Road in the town of Minden last Wednesday. The residence sustained significant damage in a mid-day fire that left the family of four homeless.

Photo submitted - The rear of this one-family residence at 948 Fordsbush Road shows the extent of damage sustained in a Sept. 27 fire.


Benefit planned for fire victims

Thursday, October 04, 2012 - Updated: 8:49 AM


C-S-E News Staff

MINDEN — Plans are falling into place for a benefit for a Fordsbush Road family whose home was ravaged by fire last week.

Tiffany Diefendorf, who is organizing the Nov. 10 pig roast at the Canajoharie-Fort Plain Elks Lodge with Julie Florian, said the fundraiser for the family of Florian’s brother and sister-in-law, August and Billie Jo Florian, is slated to start at 2 p.m. and will feature a DJ, a 50/50 raffle, door prizes, a Chinese auction and more. The main roast will begin around 3 p.m.

As noted on Diefendorf’s Facebook page at, donations of food and goods for the auction are being solicited for the event.

It’s expected that advance tickets will be available for sale by this weekend. Call 705-1031 or 339-1535 for more information, to buy tickets, to donate money or items, or to help.

The family of four and their pets were left homeless after flames tore through the double-wide at 948 Fordsbush Road around 12:17 p.m. on Sept. 27.

St. Johnsville 1st Assistant Chief Mayra Rodriguez, who was the first at the scene, summoned Fort Plain and South Minden fire departments for assistance.

She said, “The call came in with people inside” the residence. Fortunately, when she arrived at the scene, the occupants and their dogs were outside the tidy and well-kept home.

The fire is believed to have started in a laundry room by a dryer.

Fort Plain Fire Chief Brian Muehleck said the residence sustained considerable damage, destroying the laundry room and kitchen. Additionally, he said better than half of the house was damaged by flames, smoke and water.

Diefendorf noted the family needs “everything.”

Currently, the Florians are “tearing down and trying to clean up all debris,” said Diefendorf. “A decision has not been made as to whether they will build or purchase a new home.”

The family was insured, said Rodriguez.

About 18 firefighters responded to the scene from both departments, Muehleck said. Aside from a manpower shortage because of the time of day, firefighters encountered no additional problems.

Rodriguez said, “During the day, it’s really hard to find people because they don’t work in the village, so we call for mutual aid. Most of the time that’s true for every department.”

In addition to local firefighters, personnel with St. Johnsville Ambulance and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office also reported to the scene. Rodriguez and firefighter Terry Potoczny noted that members of the local Amish community were also “right there to help the family during and after the fire.”

Relatives and friends have also been present to offer support and assistance.

The family is staying with a close friend, Diefendorf said.


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