As almost everyone in Warwick knows, Tim Mullally and Bob Maxwell have been the owners of Style Counsel, a popular fashion shop on Main Street in the Village of Warwick, for more than 30 years.
But what some may not know is that on Saturday, Feb. 13, their home in Vernon, New Jersey, was destroyed by fire.
Fortunately everyone, including sons Timmy, 9, Nolan, 17, and their dog Oliver and cat Gary, escaped safely although the family is currently displaced.
‘It went up like a tinderbox’
“We have been living in our home for almost 30 years,” said Mullally. “And although it’s an old craftsman style home built almost 100 years ago, we did completely renovate it, including the addition of a massive stone fireplace with what is called a heatilator firebox inside. It looks and works just like a regular fireplace with glass doors that close tight. It actually can heat the entire house.
“I had made a fire early in the day as we were not going anywhere and Bob was outside by the car and alerted me that there was a lot of smoke coming out of the chimney,” Mullally added. “I then ran outside and knew this did not look normal and immediately called 911.
“While I was on the phone with the dispatcher the flames started engulfing the house,” he continued. “It went up like a tinderbox.
"It was a two-alarm fire with trucks from both Vernon and Warwick and although they were on the scene fairly quickly, the house sustained a lot of damage. It’s considered a total loss. We are grateful that our children and pets escaped unharmed and that this did not occur in the middle of the night which it very well could have.”
Carmella to the rescue
When his friend Carmella Borrazas, who is co-founder of the Warwick Relief Market, an organization designed to help small businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic, heard about the tragedy, she immediately came to the rescue.
On Feb. 14 she organized the “Tim Mullally and Family Fire Relief Fund” on Gofundme, a platform that allows people to raise money for events ranging from celebrations and graduations to challenging circumstances such as accidents and illnesses.
To date the fund has raised more than $32,000, mostly from small donations by local residents.
’We are so lucky’
“The outpouring of support from both the Warwick community and the Vernon community has been astounding ,” said Mullally, “ The teachers and school administrators reached out immediately to ask what they could do to help. Also the Cornerstone Playhouse in Sussex Borough, my theatre family, organized their own fundraiser. The go fund me account set up by my dear friend Carmella Borrazas has surpassed anyone’s expectations. And the generosity of our family, friends, customers and even total strangers has reminded us that after family there is community. We are humbled and ever so grateful. These monies will not only help us rebuild our lives but will leave us all with a lasting impression of the good will and generosity encompassed by our community. We are so lucky.”
To contribute to the “Tim Mullally and Family Fire Relief Fund” on Gofundme go to: https://gofund.me/abf57ebc
Tim Mullally’s letter of thanks appears on Page XX.