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Trailer becomes home for family after fire

This holiday season Cara and Tim Herbert and their four children should have been decorating with tinsel and welcoming family and friends to their Erksine-area home, northeast of Alix, for the first time.

Instead there’s brave faces on the family of six as they count their blessings in a cramped holiday trailer next to the remains of their mobile home.

Around 2 p.m. on Nov. 10, Cara Herbert returned home from grocery shopping in Stettler to see smoke billowing out of the roof of the place they called home since May.

After calling 911, Herbert waited for the firefighters as she watched the flames spread.

Fire crews arrived shortly after and battled the blaze for several hours to no avail.

Fire investigators later determined the fire was electrical and started within the walls. Herbert said they lost everything and nothing in the home is salvageable.

Fortunately, says Herbert, there was no one home at the time. Her husband was working in Grande Prairie and drove home when he heard about the fire.

Herbert said the house was insured and the outpouring of support from the surrounding communities has been outstanding.

“We have some fantastic neighbours,” said Herbert, 31.

“The support has been amazing. The Nevis and Erksine communities have pulled together what we needed to get started.”

They also have family in Red Deer and Bashaw.

Because the family has pigs, goats and dogs to feed, there was no other option but to stay in the holiday trailer on the property. Herbert says the trailer is quite snug and very warm. They have the essentials but doing laundry poses a problem.

“We don’t have space for a Christmas tree this year,” said Herbert. “We’ll be going to my husband’s family to celebrate Christmas on the 15th. We will just celebrate with them and Santa will come early.”

Her four-year-old daughter has major skull surgery at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton on Dec. 21. Herbert said her family will be spending Christmas at their daughter’s hospital bedside.

Herbert said her children – Carson, 9, Carl, 7, Gracie, 4, and Hunter, 2, – have surprised them. She said their spirits are relatively high and are looking forward to an early Christmas.

“Every once in awhile we will get, ‘oh no that was in the fire,’” said Herbert. “They have their moments. They had their most precious treasures in there. There’s no going back. We really have to look forward to make the best of the situation.”

Family friend, Nicole Peters, has set up a trust fund at Scotiabank and TD Canada Trust in Stettler. To help, call Peters at 403-742-6402.



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