Friday, December 27, 2002

House fire leaves family with nothing

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BELLEVUE - A former Thomas More College football standout who is the son of a Dayton councilman-elect lost his home in a Christmas Day fire.

Brandon Gifford's family - including his 4-year-old son - came home from a party early Thursday to find their home at 138 O'Fallon Ave. on fire. The family had moved into the two-story frame home less than two weeks ago. Although no figures were available, firefighters said the home was a total loss.

The Bellevue/Dayton Fire Department arrived at 11:55 p.m. Wednesday. Firefighters were on the scene for about four hours; it took them two hou to get the blaze under control.

Mr. Gifford said his family lost everything, including their Christmas gifts.

"We lost absolutely everything," said Mr. Gifford, who wore a sweat suit donated by the Red Cross. "We just moved in and I had no insurance. The house was pretty much gone when we pulled up in the car. There was nothing we could do."

The cause remains under investigation. It was unclear whether Christmas lights might have set off the fire, which started on the first floor near holiday decorations.

Mr. Gifford's father, Jerard, said his son's family was staying with him until they could find other housing.

"I'm thankful no one was injured or killed, but it's tough," the elder Mr. Gifford said. "It's the things that you can't replace - like the baby album of my grandson and tapes of my son's college football career - that is hard to deal with."

Mr. Gifford was the middle linebacker for the 1995 undefeated Thomas More team. Capt. Dave Tiemeyer of the Bellevue/Dayton Fire Department said firefighters are collecting money for Mr. Gifford's family.

Donations can be made by calling the firehouse at (859) 261-0083.


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