JAMESTOWN – Fundraising efforts continue for a City of Jamestown family who lost everything in a blaze this week.
The Jamestown Fire Department was dispatched to fight the fire at the William Street home around 12:20 a.m. Monday. Brooke and Hector Rivera’s four kids in the house at the time were taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital.
Family friend Rebecca Russo started a GoFundMe page in effort to help the family secure future housing, living expenses, and replacement of what they lost in the fire.
“Brooke and Hector, they’ve said ‘thank you so much’. They’re actually so overwhelmed by the donations and support that we’ve received so far,” said Russo.
So far they’ve raised well over $4,000 and Russo says that these donations are important because the family does not have renter’s insurance.
Community member and owner of Pearl City Pets Jason Skinner has opened up his store on 201 Cherry Street for clothing and other household donations to the family. He says that he was inspired to do this because his family has been in a similar situation.
“We had two house fires, we have children, (and) we lost everything, so to be able to give back and help is something we want to do,” said Skinner.
Skinner also says they will also be donating 10 percent of store purchases to the Riveras.
Though they lost their home, the Riveras themselves were able to escape thanks to the heroic efforts of Jamestown Police Officer Mark Conklin who was responding to a different call on Banker Street and rescued the family from the blaze while alerting the fire department.
Jamestown Police released Conlink’s body cam footage which shows him running into the fire. Later, he instructed the children who were trapped on the second floor to jump out the window and proceeded to catch them.
Russo commented on Conklin’s swift action and recognized him as a hero.
“So the fact that a police officer stepped up in that way and inserted himself (and) took on the situation, it’s just beyond me. He definitely outdid himself,” said Russo.
To donate to the Riveras or to find out their clothes sizes, you can visit the GoFundMe page directly at helpriverafamily.com. If anyone has any questions, they can contact Russo directly through the GoFundMe website.