Two families lost their homes Monday afternoon in a fire on a China Poot homestead, a fire that consumed the entire structure and claimed all their belongings.
A community effort is underway to help Ryan and Hanna Walker and their neighbors, Autumn Jones and Neils Cordes as they re-establish homes. Three children from the two families brings the number displaced to seven.
The families were not home at the time of the blaze and no one was injured. The homes were not insured.
“They are going to need everything. They lost every last thing they had and walked out basically with just the clothes on their back,” said family friend Tim Clark. Presently, efforts by co-workers at Safeway, where Cordes works, and other community efforts on the Walker’s behalf are underway.
The sight of buildings engulfed in heavy smoke was called into the Homer Police Dispatch at about 2:30 p.m. after a passerby reported seeing it. Fire Chief Bob Cicciarella of Kachemak Emergency Services said he called out all 40 volunteers to help fight the fire, and the Homer Volunteer Fire Department was called in for aid.
“It was a good-sized home with multiple add-ons, and a garage off the back,” Cicciarella said. The homestead held the Walker’s main house and a trailer where Jones and Cordes were living.
Farm animals were on the property, but they were not impacted. The pigs, chickens, rabbit, cats and a dog were all rescued, he said.
Firefighters battled the blaze for four hours, a process that became complicated when a metal roof collapsed. A piece of equipment had to be brought in to lift the roof off the fire.
“We brought in a skid steer in order to move the metal roofing. When they collapse it creates a shield over the fire and it becomes an unsafe scene for fire fighters to go in,” Cicciarella said. “The skid steer pulled debris apart to get underneath so we could get a hose in. It was a stubborn fire.”
The day didn’t end until 10 p.m. for the firefighters, who returned to the station to hang hose, clean and refill air packs and other tasks associated with being ready for the next fire.
The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.
How to help:
• A donation account has been set up at Alaska USA Federal Credit Union. Donations will be divided equally between the two families according to a bank spokesperson.
The Walker’s two children lost all their belongings, Trinity, 9 and Dallas, 6, as well as Autumn’s daughter Destiny, 13.
• George’s Storage set up two storage areas to accept large household donations such as beds, couches, dressers, appliances and building materials for the Walkers. The contact person for this is Hanna at 299-6369.
Three others offered the use of their garages for collections for Neils and Autumn. To donate call, Michelle Geagle 399-1359.
• Temporary housing is needed. Presently each family is staying with friends.
• A Facebook page was started to update information for the families.
• Safeway is organizing donations in jars at counters, an employee donation challenge and a spaghetti feed. Lorelei Collins, 299-3186, is organizing this effort. They will be seeking auction items for the spaghetti feed. Lorelei also is putting together a food chain to provide meals for the families.
• To help with individual furniture or clothing donations in Safeway’s effort, contact Lorelei, David Hunter or Chris Billings at the store 226-1000 ext 8; ask for Lorelei, David or Chris.
Comments are closed