No one was injured in a residential fire that has left a local family homeless.
Barrhead firefighters responded to the call at 11:34 a.m. Dec. 28. They spent four and a half hours fighting the blaze that razed to the ground a two-story, 1,200-square-foot home. The home was located approximately nine miles west of Township 590, off Highway 33. Incoming fire chief Gary Hove said the source of the fire is as of yet unknown.
“The fire is not suspicious, it was an accidental fire,” Hove said. “The house is completely gone.”
Dale and Karen Dusza are the owners of the home, and they didn’t have any insurance. They have lost everything, Karen said, including more than 30 years of memories raising three children. At the time of the fire, Karen was working at Freson IGA, while Dale was out taking twine off the bails, she said.
“We feel empty,” she said, after being reached at a family member’s home. “We’re taking things day by day. It used to be an old school house, and it just went up like smoke.”
On Dec. 31, all that was left of the home was its foundation and basement, and the remains of the burned-out home were still smoking.
“It’s finally starting to sink in,” Karen said.
Karen said the community has been very supportive of her and her husband, and a fundraising event is in the works to help replace what was lost in the fire. However, it isn’t the material possessions she is most concerned about, rather it’s the loss of 33 years of memories attached to the home that the Duszas will mourn the most.
“The community has just been wonderful, and they were there for us right away,” Karen said.
Vicki Kremp, financial adviser with Servus Credit Union, said a fundraising social and dance is being planned for the Dusza family. It will take place on Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. at the Mosside community hall. Tickets are $15 each, and can be obtained by calling 780-674-4786, or 780-674-3246.
Due to the extent of the fire upon arrival on scene, the Barrhead firefighters had to “go defensive” on the flames, Hove said, as they didn’t want to compromise firefighter safety. The most firefighters on scene at one time was 11.
In a rural situation like this, one of the biggest challenges faced by firefighters is a lack of water, Hove said.
“The guys worked their best to try and save this home, but sometimes the fire gets the upper hand on us,” he said. “The guys put in their best effort and did everything they could.”