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Scotia police chief sees groundswell of support after fire

Scotia police chief sees groundswell of support after fire

More than $20,000 has been raised for Scotia Police Chief Peter Frisoni
Scotia police chief sees groundswell of support after fire
Scotia Police Chief Peter Frisoni is pictured in 2013.
Photographer: Gazette file photo

SCOTIA -- The community has rallied around Police Chief Peter Frisoni and his family over the weekend, after they lost their home to a fire on Friday.

A GoFundMe page, created the day after the fire by the union representing village police officers, raised close to $12,000 in three days. The original goal was $10,000.

“We’ve already hit our goal, which we’re happy about,” said Sgt. Daniel Harrigan. “But obviously, we want to keep it going.”

Harrigan said he came up with the $10,000 goal because he thought it was a “good number” and a “good starting point.”

The fire occurred Friday afternoon and was extinguished by firefighters from Alplaus, West Glenville, Beukendaal, East Glenville and Stratton Air National Guard fire departments.

Harrigan said he was with Frisoni at the police station when the call went over the scanner about a fire on Redwood Drive.

“He said, ‘I’ll be right back; I have to go,’” Harrigan said. “I knew something was wrong.”

Harrigan said he followed the chief to his home. He said when he got out of his car, the house was fully engulfed by the flames.

“He was devastated,” Harrigan said.

Frisoni, his wife and their five children lived in the home, but no one was inside when the fire began, Harrigan said. The family is staying at a nearby hotel.

Harrigan said the home will have to be demolished. He added that it was still unclear what caused the fire; it was still under investigation as of Monday.

The union, along with Mayor Kris Kastberg, have set up a couple of avenues for people to donate to help the Frisoni family. Harrigan said they have gotten support from local businesses and other police departments.

In addition to the GoFundMe page, Harrigan said the union and Kastberg established “The Chief’s Account” at the First National Bank of Scotia to help raise money.

There is a second GoFundMe page set up by the Woodhaven Homeowners Association titled, “Help the Frisoni Family,” which had a goal of raising $1,000. It had already raised close to $8,000, according to the page on Monday.

Harrigan said Frisoni and his family didn’t want the publicity; the police department wanted to set up the account to help them out. The money raised is meant to help the Frisoni family as they look for a new home, and to replace their personal belongings, Harrigan said.

“It’s going to take a lot to replace that,” Harrigan said. “We want to help offset any short-term and long-term expenses."

Frisoni makes a base salary of $98,395 and collects an annual pension of $58,688, since his retirement from the Schenectady Police Department in 2011.

Harrigan said he assumed Frisoni's home was insured, but that it’s still a difficult situation. He said he has four children of his own and that  $20,000 wouldn’t be enough if a fire were to destroy his house.

“[Frisoni and his family] lived in that house a long time,” Harrigan said. “We’re trying to help them rebuild their life.”

Harrigan said the department plans to do another fundraiser for the family in the future. Those interested in donating can do so at www.gofundme.com/support-the-frisoni-family.

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