Airdrie family 'overwhelmed' by support following house fire

A family, now homeless from a fire that consumed their Airdrie home on Boxing Day, is overwhelmed by community support, support that began before the fire was fully out.

Fire tore through an Airdrie home but it has sparked generosity that spread almost as fast

Collections began before fire was out 2:24

A family, now homeless from a fire that consumed their Airdrie home on Boxing Day, is overwhelmed by community support, support that began before the fire was fully out.

Wayne Unrau, his wife and three children lost pretty much everything when a fire devastated the home they rented at 406 Coopers Drive on Boxing Day.

Wayne Unrau and his family are 'blown away' at the support they have seen since losing their Airdrie home in a fire on Boxing Day. (CBC)

But the reaction by the community has blown the family away.

"The firefighters weren't even done fighting the fire and there was already stuff in the neighbour's garage and in our car as far as clothes to wear, as we had nothing to wear besides what we had on," Unrau said Sunday.

"It was, it was overwhelming."

Airdrie fire got the call at about 9 a.m. Saturday (CBC)

The family is staying with friends they know from their church.

Unrau thinks it was a heater in the garage that started the fire which quickly spread to the second floor.

He says watching the house burn was heartbreaking.

Fire at 406 Coopers Dr. in Airdrie on Saturday (CBC)

"It's such a hopeless feeling. Like, you're there to provide a roof over your family's head and you're watching it go up in flames," Unrau explained.

On Sunday Unrau's church prayed for the family, and continued the fundraising which began before the flames were out.

Trevor Peacock is the senior pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel.

Trevor Peacock, a pastor, said his phone rang off the hook with people asking how they could help. (CBC)

"My phone was just ringing off the hook all day yesterday, just people saying 'What can we do? We want to help,'" Peacock said.

Peacock's daughter, 11-year-old Gabriella, is a friend of the Unrau family.

Gabriella Peacock, 11, wanted to help a family that has lost everything in a house fire. (CBC)

"It just makes you feel so sorry for their family, and you want to help any way that you can," Gabriella said.

Yolanda Walters is a neighbour that didn't know the Unrau family but did know that she wanted to help, so she posted a call for donations online.

Yolanda Walters posted a call out for donations online. The response was huge. (CBC)

And the response was huge.

"It's incredible, it's incredible, it's really heartwarming that people are coming together for this family," Walters said.

People came forward with jackets, clothing, toiletries, food, anything that would help the family who are starting over.

Donations for a family who lost everything in an Airdrie house fire Boxing Day (CBC)

The support, much of it from strangers, has reaffirmed the family's faith.

"I have my family, we've got overwhelming support, those are just material things … it hurts … you work your whole life but that's not what we work for," Unrau said.

"All the gifts are gone but we still have the gift that sent Jesus to earth … we have that gift. Nothing can take it away."

With files from Kate Adach


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