In a display of heartbreaking callousness, thieves made off with stuffed animals and other toys left as a memorial at the scene of a fatal trailer fire near Red Deer.
“It’s just disgusting,” said Lance Kenney, whose adjacent trailer home was also destroyed in a fire just west of Red Deer early this past Friday morning that claimed seven-year-old Charlotte Arlidge.
Her mother, Sarah Arlidge, and two younger brothers, Benjamin and Sammy, suffered burns, as did her mother’s fiance, Chris Pozzolo, who repeatedly went back into the burning trailer to rescue those inside.
The memorial was set up by neighbours and included an angel, stuffies, toy cars for the boys and other keepsakes. Sometime overnight Tuesday, thieves made off with all of them.
Tire and foot tracks were left in the snow by the culprits, said Kenney.
“My roommate Mario (Roy) heard something about 2 a.m., but he didn’t come out and check. We think sometime around then, someone came and took all of the stuff.
“Each item was probably only worth a minuscule amount of dollars,” said Kenney. “It’s not worth anything to (the thieves).
“But for the people who have memories of this family and care for them, and want to support, it’s something that hits them hard again. And they’ve already been hit hard.”
Money has been pouring into a pair of fundraising efforts for the Arlidge family. Help These Kids Fight on GoFundMe.com had raised $13,470, exceeding the $10,000 goal, as of Wednesday afternoon.
A second GoFundMe.com fundraiser can be found under Arlidge-Pozzolo Family Emergency, and had raised $2,750 towards its $10,000 goal.
Kenney has also started a GoFundMe.com campaign under Fire Recovery Fund for Roy, who lost everything in the fire, which spread to his unit, which he shared with Kenney. Because of the age of his trailer, Roy could not get insurance.
Kenney said Roy did not hesitate to help during the fire and was taking the children from Pozzolo as he brought them out of the home. Roy went around to the back of the trailer and broke a window to try to get Charlotte out, but could not save her.
Roy hasn’t been able to work since suffering a back injury five years ago, said Kenney, who hopes to get Roy a little financial help.
“He’s always been that guy who goes above and beyond to help everybody,” he said.
Roy was Arlidge’s father’s best friend and looked after her when he died. The trailer home where Arlidge lived used to be Roy’s and he helped her buy it, he said.
“Mario’s been there through thick and thin for her.”