Townspeople step up to aid family in wake of tragedy
A fire that started in the arctic entry area of the mobile home of Misty Olson and Milo Myers and family was greatly damaged by fire a week ago Tuesday.
“We couldn’t determine exactly what caused it,” George Keeney, Valdez fire chief said in an interview after the fire. “There was so much plastic melted” in the area where the fire obviously began.
While firefighters were able to put out the blaze that shot flames several feet into the air, the home and its contents was extensively damaged by smoke and water in addition to structural problems that are a result of firefighter efforts to fight the fire from outside the structure.
“It actually spread from the middle in both directions,” Keeney said. “That’s what we know so far.”
Olson kept her chin up when she got the word at her work that her home at Simmons Trailer Park was on fire – two days before Thanksgiving.
“I’m just happy no one was here,” she said a week after the fire while sorting through the remains of the home. “We’re going to rebuild.”
People in Valdez immediately stepped up to help the family.
While firefighters were still putting out the blaze, people and businesses began mobilizing to help the family with immediate needs.
“It’s been wonderful, the way people have stepped up,” Olson’s boss Hope Turner said from Valdez Office Supply. “It was totally touching.”
Turner said the Prospector showed up with coats for the family during the blaze, and others have been donating household items; businessman Glen Mills offered to provide storage space for larger items such as furniture until the family finds a more permanent home before rebuilding the mobile home.
Valdez Office Supply is accepting donations of items. Anyone wishing to help should contact Turner at 200-2024.
Donated items the family cannot use will be sold at a sale at a future date, with the proceeds going to the family’s rebuilding fund according to Wendy Goldstein. She also said that Prospector gift cards would help the family stretch its post fire resources.
“They’re being kind enough to give them at cost anything they need,” she said. People can also deposit cash donations to First National Bank.