SOUTHINGTON — Four year-old Bryana Goldman’s collection of Disney princess dresses were among her family’s belongings burned or ruined in a house fire Sunday night. By Tuesday, town residents had donated an armful of princess dresses to replace those she’d lost.
“She loves playing dress up,” said her sister, 17-year-old Ryley Kostenko. “Southington is great.”
On Tuesday, Ryley and her sister Kaeley Kostenko were going through piles of donated clothes in their grandmother’s living room. Bryana wandered around the piles, holding a Barbie doll she’d gotten since the fire.
Beth Kostenko and her four daughters lived at 960 Johnson Ave., the house heavily damaged in Sunday’s fire. While the family along with their dog got out without injury, nearly all their belongings were lost as well as the family’s cat, Phoenix. They’ve been staying with Kostenko’s stepmother, Rebecca Fede, who lives next door.
The two properties, both owned by Fede, were part of the Fede family farm.
Joan Traini, Fede’s wife, was helping the girls organize donations that have come from residents, Southington Community Services and other groups. While going through clothes, a woman who declined to be named knocked on the door to deliver a gift card.
“She saw (the house fire) online, she had to do something,” Traini said after the woman left. “That’s how people are.”
People have been dropping by to deliver gift cards, food and clothes for the past two days. Most don’t give their names, Traini said.
“This community, I couldn’t say enough,” she said.
A local hotel is arranging a weekend stay for the family. Local restaurants have offered food. Residents and businesses have begun collecting money for the family.
A Facebook fundraiser with a goal of $5,000 set up by a friend of the family’s had collected more than $4,000 as of Tuesday.
Kostenko’s daughter Stephanie first saw the front of the house was on fire around 10 p.m. on Sunday. She was going down from her bedroom to the kitchen to get a pickle as a snack.
“She’s the hero,” Triani said.
Fire officials haven’t determined a cause. Triani said an electrical problem is suspected.
Ryley said she’s still bothered by seeing her house go up in flames.
“I never had terror like that,” she said. “I’m a photo keeper. They’re all gone.”