Fundraiser set up for East Lyme family

Editor's note: This version corrects the grade level for Ben Racicot, that Louis Racicot serves as a licensed paramedic and that he used a garden hose to help put out the fire.

East Lyme — A fundraiser to assist a local family is underway after a fire on Sunday morning badly damaged their home at 65 East Pattagansett Road.

The fire was at the home of Heather and Louis Racicot, who are both emergency dispatchers in East Lyme.

"They're just an invaluable resource, and their dedication to public safety is unparalleled," Kelly Cormier, a friend of the Racicots, said in a phone interview.

Cormier is helping to organize a fundraiser for the family on the site

Cormier said the family, including Madi, 2, and Ben, who is starting fourth grade, recently had returned home from a vacation at Disney World in Florida.

Early on Sunday, a neighbor, Holly Lester, detected smoke coming from the home, according to earlier reports.

Flames from the fire quickly traveled up the balloon-frame house, but smoke was not immediately in the area of smoke detectors in the home, Fire Marshal Richard Morris said Sunday.

The likely cause of the fire was moisture within an electrical outlet that caused the outlet connection to fail, according to Morris.

Cristofer Richter of Groton, who was driving through the neighborhood, also helped evacuate the family, according to the fire marshal's office.

Louis Racicot, who is a volunteer firefighter, jumped in to help battle the flames with a garden hose, according to Cormier.

He also serves as a licensed paramedic, while Heather Racicot is an EMT and a service representative for AFSCME, according to the fundraiser website.

The Niantic and Flanders fire departments, town officials, Old Saybrook FAST team, Salvation Army, American Red Cross and an ambulance from Lawrence + Memorial Hospital arrived on scene.

Cormier said friends and family also came to help. She said if one stepped back from all the activity, "the circle of love that was around them" was apparent.

"That's what has come out of this," she said.

Information on the "Fighting Fire with Love" fundraiser for the Racicot family is available at

The website says the home has a small insurance policy "but it is minimal and will only cover a tiny fraction of what will be needed to begin their journey in a new home. The vast majority of all belongings were heavily smoke and water damaged and the contents of both children's rooms a total loss. We were able to save some small kitchen appliances, dishes, kitchen supplies and a few toys."

Twitter: @KimberlyDrelich


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