More than $40,000 has been raised for a Bend couple and their son after their home was gutted by fire last Thursday afternoon. Two pets were also lost in the fire.
The fire was reported at 2:45 p.m. on NE Rock Chuck Drive. A caller to 911 reported the fire coming a two-story home that he was house sitting, Bend Fire and Rescue said. The residents were on vacation.
Investigators say it appears the fire was an accident, started from improperly discarded ashes from the wood burning stove that were placed in a plastic bucket and left inside the home.
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A GoFundMe was launched to help the residents, Cara Nickerson, her partner Mike and their son, Eli. The fundraiser organizer, Cassie Fithian-Barrett, said the home is no longer habitable. The family’s dog Ari, and cat, Pip, perished in the fire.
“While they are grieving the loss of their family pets, sentimental belongings, and home they also have to think about replacing everything they need to live,” the GoFundMe reads. “A close friend has generously put them up in an apartment for the time being, but they will need to find permanent housing soon and replace furniture, clothing, personal items, toys, kitchen items, and everything else we use in our homes.”
Mike is a career firefighter with the US Forest Service who has traveled the country helping others in need, the GoFundMe says. Cara has worked at Ariana Restaurant in Bend for more than 10 years.