CASSADAGA - On the night of Feb. 15, Bob and Joanna Head and their three children went to see the snow castle at the Winter Festival in Mayville and returned home around 8 p.m. to find their house full of smoke.
Head, a Cassadaga volunteer firefighter, called 911. The Heads were left to watch as smoke and water damaged all of their belongings at their residence at 7 Pine Acres Drive in Cassadaga.
"The structure of the house is still standing but everything we had inside was lost. All we have left is what we were wearing that night," Bob said in an interview Thursday.
The Sinclairville Fire Department responded to the fire and Cassadaga Fire Department assisted at the scene. David Muscato, Cassadaga fire chief, said there were rags which "spontaneously combusted" and caused a smoldering fire. He said water damage from putting out the fire and from a damaged water tank caused a majority of the interior damage.
The Heads had three pets - two dogs and a cat. Head said the cat did not make it out but the fire department was able to save the two dogs, one of which is not doing well.
Muscato said the department recently obtained canine and cat masks for rescuing pets and these were used to rescue the two dogs.
The Red Cross came to the Heads' aid and provided a three-day hotel stay and some spending cash to get them through the first few days.
Kelly Daniels, a family friend, is coordinating monetary and clothing donations for the family at the Rainbow Inn in Dunkirk.
Head said the family has received many girls clothes for his two daughters but the family could use boys clothing in sizes 6/7 and 3/4.