Westport family who lost everything in house fire receives outpouring of support from community

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A Westport family impacted by a fire is thanking the community for its love and support in the wake of the tragedy.

Donations poured in for the Milanese family, who lost everything in a billowing house fire Friday.

“Whenever something like this happens to your friends we all think ‘what can I do? How can I help?’” said family friend Monica Ryan.

Jason Milanese came home to a smoldering mess last week after the Westport Fire Department responded to his house for reports of smoke and heavy flames on Vani Court.

“The fire department said that he could not enter the house, that it was too dangerous and that the interior had been completely burned out,” Ryan said.

With two young kids to look after, Ryan turned to social media to ask the Westport community for help.

“Within an hour, we started receiving phone calls and emails,” Ryan said. “And we’ve gotten a ton of books, age-appropriate books for 6- and 8-year-olds, shoes and backpacks for the kids.”

Few remnants remain intact inside the Milanese family home, but the Westport Fire Department made one heroic save.

Ryan said some firefighters from the Westport Fire Department went into the residence after the fire had stopped and safely recovered Jason's Milanese's grandfather’s Purple Heart from under the debris.

“When he texted that photo to me it was incredibly emotional,” Ryan said.

With outstretched arms of a community and his grandfather’s memory safe, Milanese knows he will soon rebuild.

In a statement he said in part:

"The donations that have poured in let us know through this tragedy we are not alone as have all the support we need to get through this. We want to just say thank you from the bottom of our hearts."

The family says they will donate extra clothes to local organizations.

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