When a grassfire started by the improper disposal of smoking materials quickly spread to the Sharp Hill community south of Airdrie Oct. 17, it completely destroyed one home, leaving Dave and Danielle Smith and their three daughters homeless.
Dave Smith said the hardest thing for the family to deal with is the loss of their two dogs, who perished in the fire.
“Everyday is getting better and we’re just working through the logistics that people do when they lose their house,” he said.
Smith said the family has no plans to leave the Airdrie area and will rebuild.
Finding out the fire was started by a careless individual has been hard for Smith to accept.
“Initially they told us it was a downed powerline — when you hear something like late, you’re like, ‘OK, that’s nature and that happens.’ When you hear the other, it’s like, ‘come on,’” he said.
“There are somethings around carelessness that people just don’t think. In today’s day, we have to be better. I don’t hold any ill will towards that person, honestly.”
Airdrie RCMP has launched a criminal investigation into the cause of the fire. See story on page 3.
Family friend and Airdrie resident Janelle Nordin said she immediately knew she had to do something to help the Smiths and quickly launched a GoFundMe campaign.
“When we saw that they had nothing – literally just the clothes on their back because (the fire) was so quick and instant that they weren’t able to grab anything – I thought there (were) going to be people who wanted to support (them),” she said.
Nordin said the Smiths also lost their vehicles in the fire and some of the funds raised will be used to get them a rental car. Danielle Smith is a chiropractor who worked out of her home so she also lost her business.
Nordin said the response to the campaign has been remarkable with people from all over making donations. As of 11 a.m. Oct. 25, a total of $25,351 had been raised, surpassing Nordin’s original goal of $20,000.
“People have been so generous and so great. It’s been amazing to see the community come together. It’s been amazing for them to know that (the money) is coming,” she said.
Smith said the fire has pulled his already close family even closer.
“As a family, we’ve often talked about material things and that understanding that we have to hold things loosely,” he said.
“We’ve always talked about this as a family and now this is real. It’s not about the things (we’ve lost); it’s about the special memories. We’re working through that. We’re already close, but I’ll tell ya, we’re closer.”
To make an online donation, visit GoFundMe.com and search “Sharp Hill Fire.”
Meals Made Easy – a local business which provides healthy and fresh meals – is matching every donation towards a meal for the Smith family. Gift cards can be purchased on the business website at mealsmadeeasy.ca or in person at #2, 704 Main Street S.E.