Family loses all in weekend blaze

By Geoff Lee

December 13, 2016 12:00 AM

Clothes on their backs Is all a Paynton family has left after flames ripped through their rural Saskatchewan property. Thankfully, no one was injured in the blaze that razed the family home Saturday, but the family has been left with nothing. PHOTO Courtesy Paynton Volunteer Fire Department

Christmas went up in flames for a Saskatchewan family of three who are fortunately safe and sound after fire burned down their rural home Saturday night.
The Paynton Volunteer Fire Department is accepting donations for the family that lost all its possessions and Christmas presents in the three alarm blaze.
“We’ve been accepting donations since yesterday, and there are several organization who are trying to help the family, including the Red Cross who I just spoke with this morning,” said Paynton fire chief, Ellery Russell, Monday morning.
“They lost all their Christmas presents.”
The home’s occupants, Wendy Smith, her husband Carl, and their eight-year-old son, Jordy, are staying with relatives in the area.
The fire was called in by Carl at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Russell said Carl was on the property, about 80 km southeast of Lloydminster, but not in the house at the time.
“He was down at the barn I believe—the mother and son were out shopping, I believe.”
The Paynton fire department sent two trucks and a water tender to the property northwest of town, but the fire was “fully involved” by the time fire crews arrived, said Russell.
“Maidstone was our mutual aid on that one so they got there a bit behind us,” she said.
“After battling it for a while, it was already too fully involved and we were just going to let it go—it was too far gone.”
The fire was restricted to the house and didn’t damage any vehicles or outbuildings.
“They had some pigs in the barn that we had to get the power restored for and the heat,” said the fire chief, who noted she doesn’t know the family personally, but she said Wendy “has been kind of overwhelmed” by so many kind responses.
“They’ll be dealing with SaskEnergy today and all sorts of things that they couldn’t do on the weekend.”
Russell said the cause of the fire has yet to be determined.
“I’m not an investigator ... that’s up the insurance company I suppose,” she said.
The fire also took a toll on Russell, who was fighting a cold and fatigue, no doubt partly because of battling a flaming house in sub-zero temperatures.
“I’m running on three hours of sleep since Saturday,” she said, noting she stayed at the scene until 1 a.m. Sunday morning to make sure it “wasn’t going anywhere.”
The fire followed a holiday fire safety message posted on the fire department’s Facebook page on Dec. 2.
The message read, “Be safe this holiday season, also keep your cords plugged all the way in to avoid an arc. No one wants to have a Christmas fire unless it’s in the fireplace!”
Donations for the family are being accepted at the Paynton Fire Hall.
Please call 306-903-7122 to arrange drop off or deliver to any local firefighter with the following list of suggestions:
• Clothing sizes: boys size 8, ladies 14 - 16 (XL), mens XL sweat Pants and 2XL sweaters/t-shirts. • Household items and toys are appreciated as well.
The department said Christmas ideas for Jordy could include Matchbox cars, action figures (wrestlers) and just about anything a little boy might like.

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