BOUNTIFUL (ABC4 News) – The Gun Range Fire may be fully contained as of Sunday. But for at least three families, the road to recovery is just beginning. One of those families walked ABC4 News through the burnt remains of their home Monday afternoon and explained why the loss extends beyond just the monetary damage.
“Be careful,” Sheila Hare said as she and her daughter, Diana walked through shards of glass, shrapnel, and rubble at her parents’ home. The six-bedroom house contained more than 30 years of memories and housed five generations of her family.
“This is where I grew up. This is where my husband and I got engaged. This was where we had our wedding reception. This is where we’d bring the children over for holiday gatherings,” she recalled.
In just minutes, her family’s lives changed forever when the Gun Range Fire destroyed her parents, Dan and Cherilyn Fisher’s home Friday morning.
“Luckily, my parents are night owls. So they were awake when the fire started around 1 a.m.,” said Hare. “My mom smelled smoke and my dad looked out the back window when he saw 50-foot flames.”
Hare said not only did her parents evacuate safely but credited them for alerting neighbors about the fire.
“My father is the ’emergency preparedness coordinator’ for our neighborhood. He ran over and got our neighbor out,” she said. “My mom drove our car out into the cul-de-sac and began honking her horn to alert everyone in the neighborhood.”
Fortunately, no serious physical injuries were reported. But the fire destroyed nearly everything the Fishers owned and caused approximately $1 million in damage.
“They ran out with only the shirts on their backs. Everything else is lost,” said Hare. “This is decades of memories destroyed. When we see this rubble, we are in shock. It’s a very surreal experience. It’s going to take a long time to process and sort through all of this.”
Investigators said the fire was caused by an abandoned campfire. Officials are still looking for the individuals responsible, but Hare said her family holds no negative feelings towards them.
“We assume that they are teenagers. Teenagers do stupid things,” she said. “Honestly, we have zero energy for anger. It’s just right now, we are immediately concerned about my parents’ living situation. We are in survival mode right now, so worrying about stuff that’s burned will come later.”
While the firefighters’ work may be done, the healing process is just beginning for families like Hare’s.
“This story is not over. It will take about two years for my parents and their neighbors to demolish this site, rebuild their home, and reestablish their place in the community,” said Hare. “Everyone else’s lives will move forward. But my family will continue to struggle and have to figure out a new normal.”
Hare said her parents’ insurance only covers the structure, not the contents that were inside of the house. There is an online fundraiser to help the Fishers get back on their feet. If you would like to donate, click here for the link.