Donations pour in after southern Alberta fire leaves family of 6 homeless

Click to play video: 'Southern Alberta communities rally for family who lost home to fire' Southern Alberta communities rally for family who lost home to fire
WATCH ABOVE: A fire that destroyed a home 25 km west of Lethbridge has left a family of 6 homeless. As Sarah Komadina reports, before the flames were even extinguished people came together to raise money and help the family – Dec 9, 2016

A fire that destroyed a mobile home near Monarch, Alta., was home to a family of six. A day later, the home is still smoking.

It took fire crews almost eight hours to put out the flames at the residence, located about 25 kilometres west of Lethbridge.

Before the fire was extinguished, the community was already rallying to get donations for the family.

READ MORE: Home destroyed by fire in Lethbridge County

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Rob and Erna Den Boon, and their four children, ages 13, 10, eight and six years old.  Rob didn’t want to be interviewed, but told Global News their home is insured.

He said they lost everything, except important documents like passports and birth certificates.

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Nobleford Fire Chief Ryan Wagner says preliminary findings suggest the owner was heating water and sewer lines when the fire broke out at around 3:30 p.m. About 30 firefighters responded from Nobleford, Coalhurst and Picture Butte.

“Once we arrived on scene the house was full of smoke,” Wagner said.

“[There were] partial flames coming out from underneath the mobile home, so our guys pulled attack lines and started hitting that right away [when] unfortunately the rest of the house started going at the same time.”

The fire chief said there is a lot working against county crews on a good day and the freezing temperatures present even more challenges.

“Equipment starts to freeze up: everything from the guys’ gear, it starts to get heavier from the ice. The breathing apparatuses freeze up…vision can basically be inhibited by the ice,” Wagner said. “The water is the big part. We had the hoses to start filling up the trucks, but then the pump froze.”

Wagner said on scene, you could see a strong sense of community, as people offered a place to stay and came out to help firefighters any way they could.

That giving spirit continues as donations can be dropped off at V2 Fashion in Fort Macleod and Ups and Downs clothing in Picture Butte.

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People managing the donations for the Den Boon family are asking the public to donate gift cards and cash to the GoFundMe page so the family can buy what they need.

So far over $4,000 has been raised on the GoFundMe page.


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