Christmas Eve fire displaces two

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BENNINGTON — A local family has been displaced after a fire on Christmas Eve.

George and Jo-Anne Prouty, who run Pickett Hill Guide Service, were visiting family in Boston over the holiday weekend, when they received word that their home of 30 years was ablaze, said son Nate Prouty, who has started a GoFundMe to help his parents get back on their feet. The American Red Cross has also reached out to the family to ensure that they have food, clothing, a place to stay, and other essentials, and will provide additional support over the coming days and weeks.

"Sadly, it was a total loss and all they have left is anything they brought with them while visiting," said Prouty. "Thankfully, their dog Gracie wasn't home, either, and for now they have a place to stay. We're all very grateful nobody was hurt, but we need to start helping them get back on their feet. If you wish to give, that would be greatly appreciated. In order to keep things as organized as possible, we ask that all donations be monetary so we can use discretion as to what's needed and how much."

Bennington Rural Fire Department Chief Kevin Mattison said that his department was called to the scene on Chapel Road around 8 p.m. and that the last fireman was cleared to leave the scene around 1 a.m. He said that the cause of the fire is believed to be electrical in nature.

By Tuesday evening, Prouty's GoFundMe, which can be found at gofundme.com/prouty, had raised $3,180 of its $10,000 goal. "Thank you all for the outpouring of support we've already received," he said. "We know what a tight-knit community Bennington is and how much both mom and dad have done for the community over many, many years. We hope for the best and will be very, very grateful for anything anyone can give to help during this difficult time."

Derek Carson can be reached at dcarson@benningtonbanner.com, at @DerekCarsonBB on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 122.

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