Red Deer family very thankful to community after fire destroys home

Oily rags suspected as cause of fire

The family who lost their home in a fire last week in Red Deer are very thankful for the community support they are receiving.

Jody and Shaun Barrett and their son Nicolas and their dog fled their Morrisroe home after hearing noises in the back yard early in the morning and seeing flames. Their cat did not survive.

The middle-aged couple came to The Advocate on Tuesday to express their gratitude to everyone who has helped and reached out to them. They will rebuild their home, and since the fire they have found Jody’s wedding rings in the rubble. Her wedding dress, which was in a closet at the front of the house, can also be saved.

The Barretts said they wanted to thank the fire department, their neighbours and friends, and the community as a whole for all the support. They said they know that not everyone has this kind of support when disaster strikes, and they were very fortunate.

“We’re okay, because of the community.”

The suspected cause of the fire that destroyed their home and garage last Friday was careless disposal of oily rags, Red Deer Emergency Services fire investigator Brad Legere said.

Damage is estimated to be $530,000. The fire originated in the detached garage behind the house and quickly spread to the house, which only had a three-metre clearance between the garage and the fully enclosed deck.

Leger said that oily rags can spontaneously ignite when they heat up and have access to oxygen. The fire was one of the major ones in Red Deer in the last two years.

A GoFund online fundraiser has been set up by Karie Hansen to help out her uncle Shaun and his family.

Hansen said she started the fundraising to help ease the trauma a bit as they have lost everything and are in need of the basics for day to day living. Nicolas is graduating from high school this year.

The fundraising goal is $10,000, and about $3,000 has been raised so far. A number of people have given her clothing donations as well, which she will pass on to the family. Donations can be made online at

Through their After The Fire program, Emergency Services will visit the neighbourhood where the fire occurred on Thursday and talk to people about fire safety.

Emergency Services is reminding the public to keep fire safety in mind. Call 911 as soon if you see smoke or flames and leave the building immediately.

Batteries in smoke detectors should be changed at least once a year or when the smoke alarm gives off a faint beep every few minutes.

Always dispose of oily rags and other flammable materials in a non-combustible container with a lid. Safe containers can be purchased at safety supply stores. Oily rags may also be hung out to dry or placed and sealed in paint cans.

Always dispose of cigarettes properly. Use large, deep ashtrays that cannot be knocked over. Never use planters or other vegetation, as they can smolder and catch fire. Never empty smoking materials directly into a trash can.

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