SEARSMONT — A young couple and their 8-month-old baby are getting some help from the community after a fire early Thursday morning that killed their dog and destroyed their home.

True Bragg woke up after midnight to the smell of smoke in his Woodman’s Mill Road house, Searsmont Fire Chief James Ames said Friday morning. The smoke and flames were so intense that the family couldn’t get downstairs, but had to escape the home by jumping out a second-story window, the chief said. Bragg went out first, and his wife, Jannika Bragg, tossed their baby, Liam, out to him. Then she jumped out, too.

They called the fire department and when firefighters responded, fire was coming out every window of the home, which the Braggs purchased a couple of years ago, Ames said. He said the family did have a fire alarm in the house, which True Bragg told him had batteries in it. They did not remember hearing the fire alarm the night of the fire.

An ambulance crew checked out True and Jannika Bragg to make sure they were all right, and also took the baby to Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast to make sure he wasn’t injured.

About 30 firefighters from Searsmont, Montville, Morrill and Lincolnville were able to extinguish the fire, but by the time they left the site at 7 a.m., the building was a total loss, Ames said. The Bragg’s dog, Trixie, perished in the blaze. A cat survived.

The chief contacted the Red Cross, which made arrangements to help the Braggs, who lost all their possessions in the fire. The couple has insurance, Ames said, and friends have been helping them raise money online. True Bragg works for a tree surgeon company, according to Ames.

By Friday morning, a fundraising website set up to help the family had raised $14,320 in just 18 hours.

“The young family lost everything, including their beloved pet dog, Trixie,” the organizer of the page wrote. “We are all extremely thankful that their family is safe. All who know True and Jannika know how selfless, loving and giving they are. They could really use our support now in this difficult time.”

To donate visit the website

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