ROCHESTER — It’s been a difficult five months since Megan Robichaud and her 5-year-old son Jaydin lost everything in a fire, but they got back a little bit of normalcy Wednesday morning.
The Rochester Firefighters Toy Bank treated Jaydin to a new bike, a backpack stuffed with toys, and a ride around downtown in a firetruck as part of an effort to bring some joy to a family that has struggled with homelessness and limited resources.
Jaydin beamed as he took his new Spider-Man bike for a spin around Station 1 at full speed, and he was all smiles while riding in the front seat of Truck 1 as the siren echoed throughout Wakefield Street.
“It’s so awesome,” said Robichaud, 20. “I’m so glad to see him smile. I’m smiling.”
On April 30, a cooking fire ignited Robichaud’s mobile home, which was located at 6 Lilac Drive in Briar Ridge Estates. Robichaud and Jaydin were in the home at the time of the fire, and hurriedly left with only the clothes on their backs because flames and smoke started to surround them.
No one was injured during the fire, which officials have ruled accidental.
The fire occurred a couple of weeks after Jaydin’s fifth birthday, destroying all of his new toys. Up until recently moving into a new home in Farmington, Robichaud and her son lived in a tent on a family member’s property in Lebanon, Maine, subsiding on hotdogs and other food they could cook on a small camp stove.
“We had nowhere to go,” she said.
Robichaud reached out to the Rochester Fire Department last month for assistance after she heard about the toy bank.
Firefighter Paul Haggenmiller, a father of two who runs the toy bank, said he was thrilled to dig into the stash of donated items in Santa’s Workshop to help out. He crammed a Batman backpack to capacity with school supplies and Batman, Transformers and Star Wars action figures, as well as a separate bag filled with other supplies, coloring books…