After a devastating fire destroyed the entirety of a local Westminster family’s home and belongings, an outpouring of emotional and financial support was on the minds of those who gathered at Big Slick’s Bar and Grill over the Jan. 25 weekend. With the old town square in Westminster full of motorcycles and the Westminster Fire Rescue vehicle proudly displayed alongside the establishment, the community bared witness to a show of unity and the goal of raising relief funds to help those in their greatest time of need.

On the morning of Jan. 15, Westminster Fire Rescue was dispatched to a report of a house fire on South Georgia Street. Westminster Fire Rescue arrived at 11:15 a.m. to battle a blazing inferno rapidly enveloping a local family’s single-story residence. The fire was reported to and investigated by the Collin County Fire Marshal who ruled the cause of the fire to be related to an electrical short.

"Westminster Fire Rescue made a fast attack and brought the fire under control at approximately 11:25 am. Engines from Anna, Melissa and Blue Ridge responded as a part of protocol to assist," said Westminster Fire Chief Donald Norman.

With the majority of their belongings gathered in a charred heap on their front lawn, the local family, which has not been identified at this time, will begin the long and heart-wrenching journey back to normalcy. This journey will not be traveled alone. The close-knit community of Westminster has already started contributing to the family’s recovery in ways both large and small.

While the family involved suffered a major loss financially, there were no injuries reported. Although they managed to save a few personal possessions, the rest of the family’s belongings were not insured. One of the family members is an employee of a local business, and Big Slick’s Bar and Grill has teamed up with Westminster Fire Rescue in a joint effort to help raise funds for the family and quite literally rebuild their home.

The Westminster Fire Rescue personnel are composed of volunteers with specialized skills such as electric, construction, and plumbing specialties — skills they all plan on using to rebuild the family’s home once the necessary funds are raised.

"Big Slick’s has led this effort to help the family to recover. Big Slick’s has always been the first to step up to the plate to help the community. Westminster Fire Rescue agreed to provide labor to help with reconstruction as our department has many skilled members which include general contractors and plumbers," explained Norman, who has been with department for eighty years and chief for the past year.

In the time since the fire, members of the community and those surrounding it have shown their support. At press time, representatives of Big Slick’s have yet to comment on the fundraiser but monetary donations can be made directly at the establishment itself, which is located on Houston Street in Westminster. Those who wish to volunteer their services in the rebuilding efforts are encouraged to contact the Westminster Fire Rescue staff by phone at 972-924-4141.