Sylvan Lake and Red Deer County firefighters responded to a blaze west of Sylvan Lake off Hwy 11A on Tuesday evening, but were unable to save a family’s mobile home and garage.
“It was around 10 o’clock last night when we got a call from Randy’s aunt, who lives up the road, and she told us our place was on fire, I don’t even remember getting in the car to come down here,” said Cari Kerik, standing with her husband Randy Draper in front of the remains of their home on Wednesday.
Kerik said firefighters were at the home within minutes of the initial 911 calls made by neighbours, but barely anything could be saved.
“They have nothing, their house is gone and they have no insurance,” said Kerik’s sister Cheryl.
Kerik said her sister and Draper had sold the trailer and moved nearly all their possessions into a recently constructed garage on the property. The couple and their two children, Mitchell, 14 and Stacey, 17, have been staying with her but were planning to move a new trailer onto their property as early as Monday.
According to Cheryl Kerik, the fire started in the trailer and quickly spread to the garage, destroying both the family’s home and all their possessions stored inside the garage.
“The one trailer was supposed to be going out and the other was coming in, but now they won’t have the money to pay for the new one,” Kerik said.
Kerik said the family had recently made a down payment on a new modular home, and around 10 days ago removed the insurance on the unit that went up in flames because a buyer was coming to purchase the trailer this Friday.
“They put money down and switched the insurance on the units, and when the new one was taken on Friday, they would’ve had the rest of the money they needed to buy their new home.”
The family will continue to live with Kerik in Sylvan Lake, but have little more than the clothes on their backs and are unsure where to go from here, Kerik said. She is hoping the public will come together to help her sister’s family and has set up an account under the Draper Family Trust that can be donated to by visiting any Servus Credit Union location in Alberta.
“My only mission now is to try to get some help from the community for them … they have nothing left,” Kerik said.
Red Deer County fire services manager Allan Weiss said the matter is still under investigation and the cause has yet to be determined.
Weiss said Red Deer RCMP, along with Red Deer County firefighters, should know what caused the fire by the weekend.
“We investigate all fires within the county, and RCMP have taken statements and are also investigating this fire.”