The Tuxedo mutual aid call went out to the Sloatsburg Fire Department just after 2 a.m. Sunday morning. A house fire on Schoolhouse Road, next to George F. Baker High School, had spread next door to a neighbor’s property and soon enough fire departments from the surrounding communities were on the call. The Sloatsburg Ambulance Corps also responded to the emergency.
Tuxedo Fire Chief Stefan Christian told the Times Herald-Record that the cause of the fire is under investigation but was most likely an accident of some sort — no one from either house suffered injuries during the fire but the sudden blaze destroyed all the belongings of the residents, from family mementos to clothes to food and most all material possessions.
The two houses stand along a drive of similar homes next door to the high school, with the popular school playground and field directly across the street. Both house fires were contained by crews in the early morning hours of Sunday although the two Tuxedo families were left homeless.
By Sunday morning Tuxedo neighbors had already contributed to a collection drive to help the two families. William Sweet, president of the Tuxedo Chamber of Commerce and partner in Stevens/Sweet financial planning and services, reported a Town of Tuxedo drive underway to help the families, whose members include school-age children, military veterans and seniors.
Shari Brooks, who heads up the Tuxedo Department of Recreation, called the immediate community response “Tuxedo at its best.”
Donations of household items and clothing are being accepted at the American Legion at 16 Orange Turnpike in Southfields, while gift cards and checks should be dropped off at the Tuxedo Police Department at 1075 Route 17. Anyone with questions may call Shari Brooks, secretary to town Supervisor Mike Rost, at 351-2265.