A GoFundMe campaign has raised thousands of dollars in support of a Strathcona County family after a fire destroyed their home and left the father with serious injuries.
Theresa Ross said her cousin John Busch and his 19-year-old son were sleeping in their home in Strathcona County Friday morning when a fire broke out around 3 a.m. Strathcona County Emergency Services said the pair managed to escape the blaze but went back inside the home to grab belongings and their dog, then became trapped inside.
Ross said Busch and his son had to jump out of a second storey window in order to escape the blaze.
“If there was a fire in that main part of the house, there would be no other exit except for jumping out that window if you were up the stairs. There’d be no other way out,” Ross said.
“I just couldn’t imagine the thought process and having moments to decide, ‘I have to jump out of this two-storey window, I might die doing this but it’s certain death if I don’t.’ It just gives me chills thinking about it.”
On Friday, Strathcona County Emergency Services said the teen was taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, while the man was taken to hospital in serious but stable condition.
Ross said the 19-year-old son is now out of the hospital, although he remains traumatized by the ordeal. Busch remains in stable condition but in a medically induced coma, and the family is uncertain about the full extent of the injuries, Ross said.
“Yesterday, he moved his arm so we’re thankful that he moved his arm, so that means at least on that one side there’s no paralysis there,” she said.
Ross said it was fortunate Busch’s wife and three younger children were not home at the time of the fire.
Deputy chief of operations Devin Capcara said the home is a complete loss. Ross and another family member have started a GoFundMe campaign to support Busch’s wife and children.
As of early Sunday afternoon, the campaign had raised nearly $12,000.
“We have that comfort knowing Erica (Busch’s wife) can go and take care of her kids,” Ross said.
“She doesn’t have to worry about this now, we’ll take care of this part, and she can focus on John and she can focus on making sure her kids are okay and getting the support and the emotional resources that they need from her.”
Capcara said the investigation into the fire is on-going, but the cause is a suspected cooking-related incident.