Township Tavern fundraiser planned for Wrights

The Enterprise — Marcello Iaia

The Wright home was charred and gutted by a fire that started in the kitchen on Aug. 24.

BERNE — On the last week of August before the three Wright children returned to school at Berne-Knox-Westerlo, their home was eaten by flames.

Their personal belongings were lost, except for two boxes of winter clothing and some family photographs that had just recently been stored away in the basement, according to Apryl Ableman, a BKW parent and organizer for the Wrights. Nobody was injured.

A community fundraiser planned for this Sunday and several held already are filling the void of essentials, like food, clothing, and school supplies.

“We were able to get quite a bit of clothing for them,” said Ableman of donations to the family. “School supplies are an issue, but the faculty got together and took care of that.” Ableman and other organizers of the upcoming fundraiser have children who have attended school with the Wright children since preschool.

On Aug. 24, a pan of chicken was sizzling for a Sunday afternoon meal at the Wrights’ Bradt Hollow Road home, according to Ableman; As Jennifer Wright was outside, walking with her two daughters, Bella and Mikayla, the grease caught fire. When Daryl Wright, Jennifer’s husband, returned from the living room, he sprayed a fire extinguisher at the flames on the stove, which had already spread, said Richard Guilz, chief of the Berne Fire District, relating the Wrights’ account. Their son, Zachary Wright, escaped with his father, Ableman said.

The house was burning rapidly when firefighters arrived; they used a heavy stream of water to snuff out the flames in about 15 minutes, said Guilz. In another hour, he said, the hot spots were extinguished as well. The small house was lost.

“What hurts the most in a scenario like this is the loss of all your personal belongings,” said Guilz.

The best way to put out a grease fire when it starts is to smother it, Guilz said. Since the fire had progressed, from a grease fire to a kitchen fire, Guilz stressed that Daryl Wright didn’t spread the flames.

“They did the right thing, but the fire was just going too fast too quickly for them to put it out,” said Guilz.

The family for the time being is staying in a house owned by Jennifer Wright’s sister, Ableman said.

The Wednesday following the fire, the Fox Creek Market had an evening special for the Wrights — a large pizza and chicken wings. It was the store’s busiest day since re-opening in June, said Tammy Weiler, who runs the market with her husband, Ray Weiler. The orders ate through the day’s batch of dough and another had to be made, she said.

From the $900 in sales that night, a $500 check was written to the Wrights, and another $490 was raised through donations collected at the store that week, Tammy Weiler said.

More donations were collected at the Countryside Mart in East Berne, where Matthew Skinner, a manager at the convenience store, said $380 was collected and given to the Wrights.

“It was great to see the community pull together,” said Weiler. “A lot of customers came in especially just to make a donation and to ask where they could bring clothes or furniture. It was really heart-warming to see because over the years I’ve seen Jennifer Wright, whenever there’s something to be done or someone to take charge of something, she’s the first to volunteer or lend a hand.”


The Township Tavern at 1412 Township Road in Knox will host a fundraiser for the Wright family on Sept. 21, from 2 to 5 p.m.

Tickets of $15 for adults and $10 for children aged 10 and under will provide all-you-can-eat pizza and chicken wings and music from a disc jockey. Around 30 items will be available in a Chinese auction.

To let the organizers know who plans to attend, or to donate, email , or send donations to 98 Singer Road, East Berne, NY 12059.

More Hilltowns News

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.