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Devastated by Fire, Family Says: 'We Have Nothing'

The Ribeiro family of Domenick Street said they will temporarily stay with relatives in Milford while they sort through the aftermath of a fire that destroyed their house.

The Ribeiro family of Milford, whose house was destroyed in an overnight blaze last weekend, is devastated by the loss, family members said Wednesday.

The family includes four children, ages 8 to 16, and parents Daniel and Lucia Ribeiro. In a telephone interview, Lucia Ribeiro said they would stay with relatives for the time being. 

"I have nothing left," she said. "We have nothing. I have to start over again."

They are in Florida this week, on a pre-arranged trip, but will return to Milford by Monday, Lucia Ribeiro said.

The children will return to school, which reopens Monday following the February break. They are upset at the loss of their home, and at the loss of two pets — a cat and a parrot — in the fire, Ribeiro said.

"They are crying, not sleeping well," she said. "It's been tough."

An investigation into the fire by the state Fire Marshal's office, and the Milford police and fire departments concluded Thursday with a determination that the fire was accidental in nature. The cause of the fire could not be determined, however, because of the structure collapse, a spokeswoman for the state fire marshal's office said.

Investigators were able to determine the fire started in the kitchen.

The family received $900 in emergency assistance from the American Red Cross, and will use the money for some clothing and food, Lucia Ribeiro said.

The Ribeiros purchased their wood-frame, single-family home in 2003, according to the Milford property records database. The two-story house was built in 1890.

The family also owns a business in town, the Central Market convenience store, at 186 Central St. A nephew, Lincoln Silveira, 14, was minding the counter for them this week. He said he was on the ski trip with his uncle when the family members learned the house had been destroyed by fire. The children had two to three changes of clothing with them on the trip, he said.

By the time the family arrived home, to Domenick Street, the house had collapsed.

Beatriz Ribeiro, an aunt, said her brother was in shock at the loss of his house. He kept saying, "Are you kidding? Are you kidding?" she said, of the scene.

Deb February 21, 2013 at 12:59 PM
Is there a way that some of us could donate to this poor family?
Digger February 21, 2013 at 01:07 PM
It’s definitely time for the Milford Community to pull together and help. Has a relief account been set up for this family?
Hawk's Mom February 21, 2013 at 01:27 PM
Could we have the ages/sizes of the children, many of us have clothing we could contribute.
Mary MacDonald (Editor) February 21, 2013 at 01:36 PM
At this point, no account has been established that I'm aware of. The family is in Florida but said they would return to Milford on Monday. I will follow up and see if anything more specific is established about a relief effort to help them.
Mark Cain February 21, 2013 at 01:58 PM
Florida? Ya, that's what I would do. NOT. (Prearranged or not). Insurance on the house?
G Linden February 21, 2013 at 02:12 PM
Mark, why not? That is exactly what I would do. In fact I had my apartment burn down the day before a vacation back in the 90s when I was still single. I lost everything and it was surreal, but I went on that prearranged vacation, flew with nothing but the clothes on my back and my purse, and it was a good decision. It gave me time to think and when I came back I felt a freedom I didn't expect. My heart goes out to this family. I can only imagine how devastating this is for them and their children.
Tony February 21, 2013 at 02:37 PM
Mark knows everything
unclkebuck February 21, 2013 at 03:16 PM
One way to help this family out (if you do not have money to spare) is to patronize thier business.
MilfordMomof3 February 21, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Yes, please let us know when you find out more. I would be happy to send some clothing, toys, school supplies, etc for the children.
Mary MacDonald (Editor) February 21, 2013 at 05:43 PM
I just updated the story to reflect the conclusion of the fire investigation, that the fire was accidental in nature, but an exact cause could not be determined. It started in the area of the kitchen.

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