HUDSON’S HOPE, B.C. – A Hudson’s Hope family is thankful for the community’s support following a house fire last week at their home in Beryl Prairie on May 26th.

Jessica Kempster says her family is doing their best to get back on their feet, with the community offering lodging, goods, and financial assistance.

“Right now, we’re mostly doing clean up. We haven’t really thought past that point, we’re looking at other options, like maybe moving to a different property,” she said. “I’m really grateful for how much was saved.”

Kempster said the property belongs to her dad Stan, who was attempting to clear away grass through a controlled fire – but it soon escaped, engulfing a greenhouse, some sheds, and destroying a small addition attached to the main residence.

“My dad was the only one there, he was doing a grass burn. He thought he took all the proper precautions – he roto-tilled around the garden, watered it down too, but it just wasn’t enough and it got away on him,” said Kempster.

She added that the property is fortunate in the fact that the Beryl Prairie Fire Hall is located directly across from them. The main residence was saved but not without minor smoke and water damage.

“If they weren’t, we would have probably lost everything,” said Kempster. “My dad got second degree burns with blisters and everything.”

After combing through the wreckage, Kempster says they are small things she notices that didn’t make it, but is still grateful no one was seriously hurt.

“I lost my Great Grandma’s china and sewing machine, stuff like that. With a fire, you forget what’s in a building until you start thinking about it,” she said, adding that her greenhouse is also gone.

“The community knows that I love gardening, but the greenhouse I built is gone. So neighbours are offering to let me use theirs; I don’t think I’m going to garden this year, but I appreciate the offer,” said Kempster.

Hudson’s Hope Fire Chief Brad Milton said five apparatuses and 16 crew members were on site for roughly five hours to put out the fire. Mutual aid was called in from Moberly Lake for an additonal water truck.

Initially, they were going to start a GoFundMe page, but decided that it would be easier to recieve donations directly. Anyone looking to help the Kempster family can contact Jessica at Jrkempster7@gmail.com to send a donation or offer other assistance.

Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News

Tom Summer is a Peace Region journalist and has been covering the courts and more in the pages of the Alaska Highway News and Dawson Creek Mirror since 2016. Born and raised in Hudson's Hope, he's also one of the first reporters to take part in the Local Journalism Initiative, delivering news to communities in Northeast BC. Funding is available to eligible Canadian media organizations to hire journalists or pay freelance journalists to produce civic journalism for The content produced...