A Ponoka family of five is slowly recovering after a house fire weeks before Christmas, thanks to the support of the community.
An electrical fire Dec. 9, destroyed the basement and caused smoke damage to the main floor of the home they were renting on 53 Street, meaning the family lost most of their belongings.
“We still have a lot of rebuilding to do but … we have a pretty good start,” said Brandy Duncan.
Facebook posts on community pages appealed for donations for the Duncans, asking for food, clothing, toys and household items and Ponoka answered the call.
“The community has been amazing, helping us with donations of all kinds — food, shelter, money, clothes. The hardest part is the sentimental things (we lost) from all our kids and passed-on family members.”
Her oldest daughter Raelynn, 14, was home at the time of the fire and was the one who called 911.
The two other children, Kadence, 8, and Grayson, 4, were with their dad Vaughn at the time, sledding at a place down the street.
Sadly, the family’s two cats were lost in the fire. The one cat, named Oreo, was 14 years old, and had been with the family since the oldest was a baby.
The majority of the burn was confined to the basement around the electrical panel, said protective services coordinator Donna Noble.
The fire burned a hole in the floor above, right in front of the main entrance to the house, so firefighters gained access to the home through a basement window.
About 10 members of the Ponoka County Regional Fire Services East District were on scene for around two-and-a-half hours, knocking the fire down in approximately 40 minutes.
Noble noted the owner of the home said the tenants were able to recover their Christmas presents that night.
While some of the upstairs of the home might be salvageable, the home isn’t livable at the moment, with no electrical or heat.
The family found a partially-furnished country home to rent — right in time for the holidays.
Duncan said it’s the small things the family are still in need of, such as towels, bedding and pillows. Donations for the family can be dropped off at Shoppers, the Longhorn Saloon and Grill or Sarah’s Specialty Cakes.