Sask. family with newborn triplets loses home to fire
Family of 9 plan to stay in camper after babies are released from ICU
It's a bittersweet day for a Saskatchewan mother who recently made headlines for giving CPR to one of her newborn babies while in labour with two others.
Danielle Johnston has been staying at the intensive care unit at the hospital with her newly-born triplets. On Sunday, they will finally get to go home with Johnston, her husband Trevor and their four other children.
But the family of nine doesn't have a home to return to after a fire Saturday afternoon.
The family was in Regina with the babies when their house south of Griffin, Sask. went up in flames.
The family's three cats and one of their dogs perished in the fire and the home was burned to the ground.
Despite the terrible tragedy, Johnston has been looking at the bright side.
"I could've been at home with seven little kids and had to get them all out of the house that was on fire," she said. "I'm grateful everyone's here."
"I know we don't have a home but at least we can all be together."
The family moved into the home in 2010. It had significant meaning because Johnston gave birth to one of her babies in the bathroom there.
"I thought I would raise the kids there, but it is just walls and everything," she told CBC on Sunday. "It's what you have in the home, the people, right?"
"There's so much to be grateful for."
Weyburn Fire Department Chief Simon Almond said when the crew responded Saturday at about 4:20 p.m. CST the house was fully engulfed in flames. In total, 32 firefighters fought the blaze.
Almond said the fire was confined to the home and property and there were no injuries.
Public support pours in
When Johnston arrived, she said all the neighbors had gathered to help out where they could.
Since then, the help hasn't stopped.
Brianna Ereth, who has been friends with Johnston since junior high, created a GoFundMe to help the family get back on their feet after the fire.
Over $20,000 in donations poured in by the next day.
"It's overwhelming," Ereth said. "I've literally been on my phone non-stop with people wanting to help out. It gives me goosebumps and makes me cry. It's just amazing how people have come together."
Ereth said the family is very deserving of support.
"Danielle is the most kind-hearted, loving person on the face of the planet. She would give anything to anybody. She's the best mother I've ever met in my life," she said.
The family had been staying in a camper in Regina to be close to the hospital. Ereth said they have a couple changes of clothes but everything else is gone.
Johnston said it's been the hardest month of her life. People she doesn't even know have reached out to her, something she calls "humbling."
"I can't even say it without crying," she said. "It's so beautiful. When it matters, people band together and it's just an amazing thing. I'm so grateful."
Johnston said she is happy that her three babies are strong and healthy. The family of nine plans to live in their trailer temporarily until they figure out something more permanent.
"Three are pretty little so they won't take up much space," she said laughing
The fire is still under investigation, and the cause is not known at this time, but it is not believed to be suspicious.