Community rallies to help family whose home was destroyed by fire

A house fire that completely destroyed the home of a young couple and their two children has left the family emotionally shaken.

A house fire that completely destroyed the home and possessions of a young couple and their two children who lived east of Hoadley has left the family emotionally shaken, but forever grateful they escaped the blaze safely.

“It was the worst phone call I have ever got,” said Jody Mayen as she recalled the night the home of her daughter Rae-anne,son-in-law Sheldon Thompson and grandchildren, two-year-old Milo and one-year-old Saige was destroyed.

The sound of the fire alarm going off in the wee hours of Dec. 24 woke Rae-anne who discovered the porch of their home was on fire. Rae-anne and her husband and their two wee children quickly escaped from the burning building, called the fire department and waited in the safety of a warm vehicle.

As she watched her home go up in flames, Rae-anne called her mom, Jody who lives about a half an hour away and from that moment on, for Jody and her husband sleep was out of the question.

The fire, which had forced the family out of their home, meant the Christmas they had expected to have was no longer a reality. However, once word got out that the fire had destroyed their home and possessions, community spirit took over.

“They have been completely overwhelmed by people,” said Mayen. “The generosity with financial aide, clothing and household items has been amazing. They are very grateful.”

And while she said the fire certainly took its toll and the loss means the family will have to rebuild and start over, Christmas was not without its blessings.

“It’s the most thankful Christmas we’ve ever had,” she said. “We were all here, we were all together. You can replace stuff.”

A benefit potluck supper and silent auction will be held at Liberty Hall on Jan. 9 at 6 p.m. to help the family. For donations or for more information call Helen at 403-505-7876.

Helen Karlstrom said the community wants to help as much as possible and are pulling together to make it happen.

“If was your own kids, you would want to do something for them,” she said.

Donations can also be made at Bluffton City General Store, she added.

Rimbey fire chief John Weisgerber said the cause of the fire is yet to be determined.