Fredericton volunteer Robb Hartlen's home destroyed by fire

Robb Hartlen, a well-known community volunteer in Fredericton, has lost his home in a fire.

Organizers of donation drive for family say clothes, toys, books for toddler most appreciated

A fire in Fredericton has destroyed the home of a well-known community volunteer.

Robb Hartlen, his wife Jenn and their toddler son, Reid lost everything they owned when their mobile home caught fire Thursday in the Silverwood area.

Hartlen is an auxiliary police officer and played a major role in fundraising events to help the staff of the Garrison District Ale House when it temporarily closed last January following a serious fire.

"I don't want to use the word irony, but it was a strange and unfortunate coincidence that this now happened to Rob a year later," said Carter McLaughlin, a friend who has launched a donation drive for the Hartlen family.

"This guy is such a giving person, so community-minded, and here he is in need of a helping hand himself, him and his family. It's definitely a no brainer."

McLaughlin said Hartlen is naturally in a state of shock, but his mind immediately went to his two-and-a-half year old son.

"He has no clothes, no toys, no books, nothing anymore," said McLaughlin.

"It's a few days before Christmas, I can't imagine myself, it's literally a shocking and heartbreaking thing to even think about that happening."

McLaughlin said the toddler is a size 3T and wears a size 6 diaper. The boy loves books, cars and trucks, he said.

Donations can be dropped off at the Police Neighbourhood Action Team office, located at 643 McLeod Ave. Monetary donations are also appreciated, said McLaughlin.

Fredericton Fire Department officials say there was heavy fire and smoke when they arrived on the scene Thursday.

There was concern for the family's pet dog, but it got out safely.

The department said one firefighter fell through the floor while fighting the fire, but was not seriously injured.

The family is now staying with relatives.