CANAAN — Nearly four months after a suspected electrical fire tore through her mobile home, Laura Dudley still is working to put the pieces of her life back together.

Now friends and family determined to help the Iraq War veteran get back on her feet are hosting a fundraiser for her from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Stage Presence for Dancers on Veteran Drive in Winslow. The event will include vendors from clothing companies LuLaRoe and Dot Dot Smile and cosmetic companies Perfectly Posh and Younique. Other vendors include consultants from Tupperware, Young and Living and Paparazzi Jewelry.

“Laura is actually an older cousin of mine who I have always looked up to for both her military service and work ethic, and I am really hoping to do good by her,” said Megan Knowles, the event’s organizer.

All vendors have said they will donate a percentage of their profits toward a fund for Dudley, 29, who lost almost everything she owned in the February fire, including nearly $10,000 in garden and lawn equipment she used in her home preservation business, a hat that once belonged to her grandfather, and her 1-year-old cat, Aurora. She escaped from the burning home with only her two dogs and the clothing she was wearing.

In an interview shortly after the fire, Dudley described how the fast-moving blaze quickly engulfed the mobile home she rented on Browns Corner Road in Canaan.

“There was smoke rolling through the hallways,” Dudley said. “Things were snapping and shooting out the windows as I was coming out.”


Dudley said she first noticed the smoke after running an external heater for the home. Even after turning the heater off, the house filled with smoke and within moments, Dudley said, she could barely see her animals sitting on the couch inside. She still thinks the external heater short-circuited a hot water heater, triggering the blaze.

Since losing her home, Dudley has been unable to secure permanent housing for herself and her two dogs and has lived instead with various relatives. She recently moved in with her longtime partner but hopes to find a place of her own once she can build up her savings.

In the immediate aftermath of the fire, Dudley was inundated with clothing, dishes and some small donations from family members. After taking some time to recover, she said, she has found a job with a family member’s home renovation business and is working to buy new equipment. She did not have insurance to help cover the loss.

Dudley said she plans to attend Sunday’s fundraiser and looks forward to seeing familiar faces. She expressed gratitude to all those involved in the effort.

“I’m extremely thankful. I really am truly thankful for it,” she said.

Kate McCormick — 861-9218

Twitter: @KateRMcCormick

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