MAHWAH, N.J. -- As hundreds of customers -- actually, friends -- continued to flock to their Mahwah farm, the Secor family praised the massive outpouring of love following a weekend fire that destroyed their home.
Despite the circumstances, "we find ourselves filled with gratitude and optimism," the family wrote in a Monday morning post. "Thankfully our family and pets are safe.
"We are also thankful to all of you, the members of our outstanding community, whose response to our tragedy have left us speechless."
As news of the fire began to spread late Saturday afternoon and, then, throughout the weekend, countless people offered not only prayers and donations: They produced a steady stream of business to the farm, which was open Sunday, hours after the devastating blaze.
Yvonne Slaczka Mayo was there Sunday and said "the employees were so touched they were tearing up saying they couldn't believe how many people.from the town had come to buy something and give donations."
"My heart was joyous when i saw how full the parking lot was with cars still streaming in," added Linda Wetterau. "They are a very special family and an integral part of this town. I do hope they now realize how much our community cares about them."
Begun by Darryl Secor's great grandfather when he moved to the area from Paterson nearly 80 years ago, the farm originally consisted of 50 acres in Upper Saddle River.
In 1973, the family expanded into Mahwah.
Secor Farms not only has been a famous landmark passed down through three generations: The Secors themselves have been extremely active in supporting Mahwah's public schools, the Girl Scouts and other local causes.
"They are so generous to the Mahwah community, whether it for Girl Scouts, Mahwah Day, the Walk-a-thons, etc.," wrote AnaMaria Mei. "Time to pay it forward!"
A YouCaring Fund launched by Mayor Bill Laforet had raised nearly $20,000 by Monday afternoon.
"Your outpouring of love, concern, and offers of help as we cope with the loss of our home of 25 years is, simply put, humbling," the Secors wrote on Monday.
"And we are optimistic. We will rebuild our home," their Facebook post says. "There will be new walls and new windows, but the heart of our home is untouched by the fire.
"Our family is our heart, and it is with hearts filled with gratitude that we say, 'Thank you.'"
The blaze began "either in an extension cord or timer connected to outdoor Christmas lights" on the porch and ripped through Darryl and Jackie Secor's home on Airmont Avenue -- right next to their farm -- just as night began to fall Saturday, Police James N. Batelli said.
Darryl Secor discovered the fire around 4:15 p.m., notified authorities and tried to put it out, sustaining minor burns to his hands and his face, for which he was treated at the scene, the chief said.
The family dog also escaped unharmed, he added. CLICK HERE for more....
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