Fire destroys home of Newtown school shooting survivors - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Fire destroys home of Newtown school shooting survivors


A family whose children survived the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting are coping again after they lost their home to a fire. 

The Barth family has lived at their home on Berkshire Road for four years, but on Wednesday, a fire was discovered near the washer and dryer just before 3:30 p.m.

The family was not home at the time of the fire.

"We were a half a mile, like around the corner, and we didn't even know it was our house," Hans Barth said. "In fact, we couldn't believe it."

After the fire was extinguished, the deck was reduced to rubble and the windows had to be boarded up.

Two of the Barth's three children attended Sandy Hook Elementary School when the shooting took place on Dec. 14 where a gunman shot and killed 20 children and six adults.

Their 6-year-old son was locked in a bathroom at the time of the shooting.

"Although this is a tragedy, the support has been so tremendous," Barth said. "Our community is stronger and we are stronger after December of last year and I think that experience brings us through this one much easier."

The community is now helping the family. Barth said bags of items such as clothes and games for the kids were piling up.

"If I was in their position I would hope someone would do the same," Christine Wilford said. "It's really about helping each other. Our school has become more close-knit since 12/14 and we have been through so much, that we do consider ourselves a family."

The family told Eyewitness News they plan to stay at their Newtown home and move forward.

"People have been reaching out. The community is so strong. The donations are tremendous," Barth said. "And really this is nothing about a tragedy anymore and it's turned into a positive experience."

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The family found a few items after the fire, but what they said they were really hoping to find was their wedding rings.

Audra Barth said she took it off to clean that day and Hans Barth said he also left his inside.

If anyone would like to help the family, they are welcome to email Wilford at

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