Fundraiser for Saskatoon two-alarm fire victims raises thousands

Wayne Ermine, who lost his home in a two-alarm fire on May 23, said he was uplifted to see the donations. Slavo Kutas / Global News

A fundraiser for four families who lost their homes in a two-alarm fire raised more than $4,000, according to one of the organizers.

The campaign also received more clothes and housewares than the families could take.

The fire on East Hampton Boulevard, in the northwest of Saskatoon, on May 23 destroyed two houses, a single house with a basement and a duplex.

It took an hour for the Saskatoon Fire Department to subdue the blaze and, even with a quick response, the roof of the single house collapsed shortly after firefighters arrived.

No one was hurt but both structures were destroyed.

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Almost as soon as the fire was out, the nearby Hampton Free Methodist Church began collecting donations for those who lost their homes.

Hampton Free Methodist Church co-pastor Seth Freeman estimated the church received thousands of dollars in donations for the families that lost their homes. Slavo Kutas / Global News

By the time church staff stopped accepting clothes, food, housewares and money, they had filled its gym with donations and raised more than $4,000.

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“We lost everything and when I walked in there it was uplifting because there was tons of clothes but like… there was everything we could have used,” said Wayne Ermine, who lived in the basement apartment with his partner and child.

Alvin Albert, who lived in the main portion of the standalone house, said the donations “means a lot, especially coming from strangers. But it shows that people generally do care.”

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None of the families who lost their homes are members of the church.

Co-pastor Seth Freeman said the congregation saw an opportunity to help those in need.

“When we saw the fire and we saw the response of the community coming out,” he said. “We knew we were in a position where we could be a centre for that generosity and for that outpouring of compassion.”

The tables carrying the donations were still piled high even after the families took a portion of the money and what they needed of the clothes and supplies.

The church, Freeman told Global News, partners with the Saskatoon Open Door Society and so some families who are new to Canada were able to take what they needed.

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But the tables were still covered with supplies after the second group of families accessed the gym.

The remainder, Freeman said, will go to Edwards Manor, a homeless shelter, with the enthusiastic support of Ermine and Albert.

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