Hamilton community helps families displaced by fires

Two local families are finding out how generous the Hamilton community can be, as they have received help to get back on their feet after losing most of their belongings in two separate fires over the weekend.

The home of Angie Bippus, a teacher at Wilson Middle School, and her husband sustained significant damage after a fire Sunday evening, according to Superintendent Tony Orr.

The fire started in the home’s fireplace, went up through the attic and “gutted the entire top of the house,” said Hanover Twp. Fire Chief Phil Clark.

“They had delayed in calling the fire department and tried to put it out themselves. When we got there, there were flames shooting out of the center of the house and going through the roof. I would say it is a total loss, but there were no injuries to the homeowners or the kids — they all got out safe,” he said.

When Bippus’ colleagues and students learned about the fire, they offered to help in any way possible, Orr said.

“People just started asking, ‘what do they need?’ ” he said.

The staff has been collecting gift cards to help the family, and students have been writing notes of well wishes to Bippus and her three children, who all attend Hamilton City Schools, according to Orr.

“We understand that they do have a place to stay right now, but we will keep reaching out,” he said. “There are plans to set up an account soon to help raise money for the family.”

Hamilton fire investigators are still investigating a fire that caused $80,000 in damages and killed two dogs Sunday evening in the 300 block of Twinbrook Drive.

Mark and Rachel Nichting, along with their two young children, lost everything in the blaze, according to Fire Investigator Trevor Snider.

A GoFundMe page had been set-up to help the family recover from its devastating loss and had raised more than $8,000 of its original goal of $7,500 as of Tuesday evening.

An investigation is ongoing and there had not been a cause determined as of Tuesday evening, according to Snider.