WOODSTOCK — Fundraising efforts have begun for an 8-year-old Woodstock Elementary School girl and her mother whose house was destroyed by fire late Sunday night.

No one was home Sunday when fire leveled the home of Meredith Mink of 138 Old Country Road. Mink was with her daughter, a student at the school of about 80 students on Rumford Avenue just outside the village of Bryant Pond, visiting at Mink’s parents home in Bryant Pond over the weekend. The family’s two kittens were also with them.

“It’s a small town. They’re very supportive. I’m sure everyone will jump right in,” said school principal Jolene Littlehale of efforts that began Monday within the school. The fundraising  will continue later this week when the Parent Teacher Association meets and will discuss a more formal drive.

“The school PTA will meet Thursday night and we’ll figure what to do,” said Littlehale, who added that the association has an emergency fund it can draw from if necessary.

Fire Chief Geff Inman said the fire began shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday in the small one-story, two-bedroom, wood-frame house.

Although access to the house, which is located on a main road between Route 26 and 219, was good, Inman said the cold and need to transport water to douse the fire presented problems for the firefighters who turned out from Woodstock, Greenwood, Bethel and West Paris.

“We had the usual water situation,” said Inman of the need to pump water into tankers from the outlet of Bryant Pond. Although the temperature hovered around zero and water was freezing on the ground quickly, Inman said the highway department was at the scene immediately to sand the area. A PACE ambulance was also on the scene, but no injuries were reported.

“That’s the most important thing,” Inman said.

The chief said it took several hours to complete the work, which was hampered by the house’s metal roof. “It was holding the heat in. It was like cooking in a tin can,” he said of the fire.

Firefighters also battled a noontime blaze Sunday that destroyed the wood shop of a West Paris retiree.

“We’ve got a tired crew,” Inman said.

The state Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause of the accident, which is routine in Woodstock, Inman said.

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