NORTH HAVEN — Community members have launched online fundraisers to help victims of the Quinnipiac Avenue explosion that left one person and four dogs dead and nine SWAT officers injured.
The May 2 explosion came after a police standoff at 385 Quinnipiac Ave. A barn on the property exploded, spreading fire to the house.
Ten SWAT officers were injured and nine were taken to the hospital. All have been released.
After firefighters extinguished the blaze, detectives found the remains of one person, identified Monday as John Sayre, 60.
Town records listed Deborah Sayre as the property owner. According to court documents, she filed for divorce from John Sayre last month.
Kim Footit, with Deborah Sayre’s permission, started a GoFundMe page in the days after the explosion to help Sayre.
The page reached its $500 goal on Monday. Footit said the money will be donated to local animal rescue – North Haven Rescue K 9-11. The group was founded by North Haven Police Officer Val Queiroga, one of the SWAT officers injured in the explosion.
Footit said she plans to privately purchase a plaque engraved with the names of the dogs killed in the explosion and fire and give it to Sayre.
Footit said she has been communicating with Sayre by email.
“She’s devastated” by the loss of the pets, Footit said.
The four dogs — Gizmo, Porkchop, Oscar and Fritz — were Daschund breeds, according to Footit.
Footit said her daughter, Hannah Footit, assisted with the fundraiser, and Lisa Palmucci helped find the animal rescue.
As of Tuesday, local man Chris Light has raised $5,494 through GoFundMe on behalf of Sayre, and South Central Region SWAT has raised $17,810 through GoFundMe.
Nine members of South Central Region SWAT, from North Haven, East Haven and Branford, were transported to area hospitals with injuries sustained in the the explosion, including concussions, broken bones, burns and leg and knee injuries, according to the fundraiser description.
A fundraiser dinner for the nine injured SWAT officers is scheduled for Thursday at Stony Creek Brewery in Branford. Tickets are $30 and includes admission, two drinks, raffle tickets and food donated by Donovan’s Reef Restaurant, Tommy Sullivan’s Cafe, John and Maria's Pizzeria and Home restaurant.
“I am extremely appreciative of the support that friends, family and community has shown not just myself,” Sayre said, “but also for those who put their (lives) on the line on a daily basis.”
Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.
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