A Hudson’s Hope family is thankful for the community's support following a house fire last week at their home in Beryl Prairie on May 26.
Jessica Kempster says her family is doing their best to get back on their feet, with the community offering lodging, goods, and financial assistance.
“Right now we’re mostly doing clean up, we haven’t really thought past that point, we’re looking at other options, like maybe moving to a different property,” she said. “I’m really grateful for how much was saved.”
Kempster said the property belongs to her dad Stan, who was attempting to clear away grass through a controlled fire – but it soon escaped, engulfing a greenhouse, some sheds, and destroying a small addition attached to the main residence.
“My dad was the only one there, he was doing a grass burn. He thought he took all the proper precautions - he roto-tilled around the garden, watered it down too, but it just wasn’t enough and it got away on him,” said Kempster.
She added that the property is fortunate in the fact that the Beryl Prairie Fire Hall is located directly across from them. The main residence was saved but not without minor smoke and water damage.
“If they weren’t, we would have probably lost everything,” said Kempster. “My dad got second degree burns with blisters and everything.”
After combing through the wreckage, Kempster says they are small things she notices that didn’t make it, but is still grateful no one was seriously hurt.
“I lost my Great Grandma’s china and sewing machine, stuff like that. With a fire, you forget what’s in a building until you start thinking about it,” she said, adding that her greenhouse is also gone.
“The community knows that I love gardening, but the greenhouse I built is gone. So neighbours are offering to let me us theirs; I don’t think I’m going to garden this year, but I appreciate the offer,” said Kempster.
Hudson’s Hope Fire Chief Brad Milton said five apparatuses and 16 crew members were on site for roughly five hours to put out the fire. Mutual aid was called in from Moberly Lake for an additonal water truck.
Initially, they were going to start a GoFundMe page, but decided that it would be easier to recieve donations directly. Anyone looking to help the Kempster family can contact Jessica at Jrkempster7@gmail.com to send a donation or offer other assistance.
Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative
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Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alaska Highway News