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Houston community pitching in to rebuild after trailer fire

The family of five safe, but lost all their possessions in the Feb. 3 fire

The community of Houston and surrounding areas has come together to help rebuild the life of a family after they lost all their possessions and their trailer in a structure fire on Feb. 3.

Jolene Wagner, who lived with her three sons and her fiancé Dave Johnson at the Shady Rest RV Park, lost everything in a structure fire. Wagner was the only occupant of the single-wide older mobile home at the time when a grease fire got out of control.

The structure was a total loss and was fully involved when Houston Volunteer Fire Department chief Jim Daigneault arrived at the scene following the call out at 11:20 a.m.

“She’s lived in Houston for a few years now and had just moved into the trailer a couple years ago. She loves to cook, but she had just been recovering from a back injury. She was home alone when the grease fire broke loose. She managed to get out of the trailer with grease burns on her face and she had inhaled a lot of the smoke before she got out,” said Wagner’s sister Cecilia K Adams-Dangeli to Houston Today.

Wagner was then taken to hospital in Smithers after suffering from smoke inhalation.

A GoFundMe fundraiser has been organizer by Wagner’s sister and she is also collecting direct donations.

“This fundraiser will help Jolene and her family rebuild their life from scratch. Their trailer and all of their possessions were destroyed. She lost her whole life in the fire, everything she’d been collecting throughout her life,” said Adams-Dangeli, who decided to start the fundraiser after seeing her sister once she was released from the hospital.

Wagner’s sister, who lives in Hazelton, drove down to Smithers with her parents and their oldest brother upon hearing the news.

“Fortunately, Jolene’s two younger sons were in school, and the oldest and Dave were at work when the fire broke out,” she said, adding that she had been collecting donations of clothes, kitchenware, linens, beds, anything and everything of use to her.

The family, still traumatized by the incident, are at the same time grateful for the support they have received from the church in Houston, the emergency services, victim services and all the donors who have donated so far.

“She has a good start to rebuild their lives, but we’re still welcoming donations,” said Adams-Dangeli.

The GoFundMe set a goal for $10,000 and at the time of going to press, had reached $8,215.

Another helping hand for the family has appeared through the generosity of Ron Neufeld and his employees of the Tom Neufeld Trucking Ltd. in Houston. Neufeld is Johnson’s employer and all of Johnson’s co-workers donated money and then Neufeld matched the amount raised and gave it to Johnson and his family.

- with files from Rod Link

Priyanka Ketkar

About the Author: Priyanka Ketkar

Priyanka Ketkar has been a journalist since 2011 with extensive experience in community-driven news writing, feature writing, and editing.
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