A black labrador retriever sitting on a leash in a yard.

Family dog saves lives in Johnson’s Pond house fire; now they need our help – Jeff Gross

On March 24th, life for the Towle-Duffek family of Coventry, Rhode Island took a turn for the worse. In the early hours of Thursday morning the home of the Potter family caught on fire allegedly due to an electrical malfunction.  Thanks to a newly acquired Black Lab the family was able to escape the fire without injury. “Cooter” the new Lab, raised a commotion when the flames started and that resulted in the family being wakened and finding and escaping the fire. We love our pups dearly and sometimes they respond by saving our lives.

After the flames were extinguished, reality set in. The house was a loss. The interior was destroyed, and almost all personal possessions are gone. The family barely escaped with the clothes on their backs.

Lost in this tragedy were all their IDs, credit cards, and important documents, photos, and memorabilia. (A suggestion to the Towle-Duffek neighbors:  If you have pictures of an event on the pond where you all attended, have it made into a framed 5×7 or 8×10 for when the home becomes livable again.)

As you read this it is probably from the comfort of your nice warm home. Currently, the Towle-Duffek family isn’t in theirs – they are living in a hotel room. Right now, look around you – and think about this family, experiencing a life changing crisis, one which the great majority of us will never, thankfully, face.

Let us all do as much as we can to aid the Towle-Duffek’s in their plight. It’s what neighbors do: stand by each other and help each other out.

To those friends in the great state of Maine, as this story was covered on Portland, Maine television stations, any donations you make can be sent to: Central Coventry Fire Station #7,  2847 Flat River Road, Coventry, RI 02816.  For all of us local folks the same location is collecting donations for the Potter family.  Donations of gift cards for gasoline, retail stores, or building supply companies are badly needed and will be put to immediate use. Monetary donations are gladly accepted. Donations of the same can also be made at Olde Theater Restaurant and Lounge, 33 Sandy Bottom Rd, Coventry, RI 02816. One of their staff endured the fire.

To the hunting & fishing community: The Towle-Duffek’s are sportsmen and women.  Please do all you can for these kind folks as they are one of our own.

The Olde Theater Restaurant and Lounge is hosting a fundraiser for the Towle-Duffek’s on April 16th from 1 to 4 pm. Tickets are $20.  See their Facebook post for complete details – 

They look forward to seeing you there.

Thank you kindly for what you can do – Jeff.


Jeffrey “Jeff” Gross spent 21 years as an Analytical Chemist at the USCG R&D Center in Groton, Connecticut, Woods Hole Laboratories, and Helix Technologies. Changing careers is a “great learning experience for everyone”, Jeff says, and I’m an avid outdoorsman and conservationist, a student of the sciences, and the world. The US holds too many wonders not to take a chance and explore them”.

Jeff is the Model Train and Railroad entrepreneur. Proud Golden Retriever owner. Ultra strong Second Amendment Advocate and Constitutionalist. “Determined seeker of the truth”. 

Jeff is a RIFGPA Legislative and Legal Officer, Freshwater Chairman, NRA Liaison.

His subjects include Outdoors, Second Amendment, Model Railroading, and Whimsical.

He can be reached at: [email protected]

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