There was nothing left but burnt memories. Noreen Wolfchild was sifting through what’s left of her family home on Friday.
“It’s the keepsakes that I will never, ever recover. Losing my husband a few years back, and my son.
“All their keepsakes — I’ve lost everything,” Wolfchild said.
The home was destroyed in the fire. It went up in flames early in the morning on Monday.
Noreen awoke to her smoke detector going off. She and her son grabbed a fire extinguisher and hoses and dowsed the flames.
“He managed to get the fire out in the corner by the railing but by then there were embers underneath the patio and that must have carried into the basement,” she added.
Eight family members were living in the house. All of them made it out with only the clothes on their backs.
“Just the PJs we had on. My three granddaughters didn’t have shoes, no slippers, so they ran out like that,” Wolfchild said.
Instantly, family came to help. Her daughter Tracy Duck Chief arrived while the fire was still burning. She was overwhelmed with what she saw.
“Not knowing what to expect when we got out here and we basically see the fire take the house. It was really devastating.”
Duck Chief and her sister instantly started to support their mom and family.
The structure is insured, but not the contents inside.
“We started a gofundme page and it is on our Facebook. We’ve been sharing it, people have been sharing it. There’s been people donating, people we don’t even know, so we are so grateful for that.”
Duck Chief said her husband, musician Armond Duck Chief, and other fellow musicians are hosting a benefit concert on July 25 at the multi-purpose building in Stand Off, along with a silent auction. The family is accepting donations for the silent auction. Tickets for the joint event will be $20.
Donations for items the family needs right away are also being gathered by Duck Chief.
“I am so thankful for the community support. It’s been so overwhelming. It’s unbelievable,” Wolfchild said.
The family will now start to rebuild, but said they do hope some changes will be made by Blood Tribe administration. The family said the lack of road sign markers on the reserve delayed emergency crews getting to the scene.
“If a situation or a circumstance was to happen similar to my mom’s, we are hoping the departments, the Blood Tribe, can network and learn from this experience.
“This was so devastating and we would not want it to happen to another family,” Duck Chief said.
She hopes administration will consider putting up signs to help emergency crews from visiting areas navigate the rural roads on the reserve.
Fire officials told Global News the cause of the blaze is still under investigation.
One Blood Tribe firefighter suffered minor injuries in the fire.
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