Friends and relatives are rallying to help a Bentley family who will spend Christmas homeless.
A fire badly damaged the Bentley-area home of Brian and Esther Hutzkal and their three sons, aged seven to 11, on Wednesday. Brian’s sister Tashia also lived in the home but all were away and are safe.
Sister-in-law Savannah McDonald said family and friends have banded together to help the Hutzkals, who lost everything in the fire.
The fire started in a dryer and as it spread it melted nearby water lines. The water kept the fire from consuming the house but the fire smouldered and heat and smoke caused much damage.
“It basically melted everything in the house,” said McDonald. “All the windows are cracked. There is two inches of soot on everything.
“Everything above head height is melted. We don’t know if the house is going to be salvageable.”
The family are staying with friends for now. Brian works as service manager for an agriculture equipment company in Red Deer and Esther does a variety of jobs besides working on the hobby farm.
All of their belongings were ruined in the fire so friends and family are raising money and accepting donations for the Hutzkals. A GoFundMe page (Search under Hutzkal) has been set up and donations can be made to the Bentley Credit Union.
McDonald said when she had to give up her home the Hutzkals took in her and her husband and their two children and offered them a place to stay for more than a year.
“We’re just doing what we can because she helped my family so much.
“That house was the heart of the family. Her mother lives with her too and has a trailer on the property so she can watch their kids. My other sister-in-law is living with her too, so everyone kind of lost their homes.
“It’s just sad. We had a little family community out there.”
McDonald is accepting donations at her home at 48 McGill Street in Red Deer, or at Raina Milner’s home at 11 Crestview Blvd in Sylvan Lake. Those who want to donate Christmas presents for Kane, seven; Darcy, nine; and Quintin, 11, can’t go wrong with Star Wars toys or Lego. Details on clothing sizes can be found on the GoFundMe page.