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Preston family loses everything in house fire

February 2, 2017

PRESTON — A Preston family lost everything in an early morning house fire on Monday.

The fire destroyed the home they were renting at 241 W. Oneida St. and its contents, causing an estimated $60,000 in damages, said local fire marshal Scott Martin.

Quinn Atkinson, Alisa Hardy and their four children, ages 15, 12, 5 and 4 months, all escaped the blaze, but some sustained burns and smoke inhalation, Martin said.

Three family members were initially taken to the Franklin County Medical Center. Hardy and her baby were later transported to the University of Utah Burn Center in Salt Lake City.

Hardy sustained burns on her hands, wrist, elbow and feet, according to family members, who add that she was injured while protecting her youngest child. The baby also received burns on her hands and ears.

Carol Ann Fitzgerald, Hardy’s cousin, said all of those injured have been treated and released, and they are now staying with a family member until they can find another place to live.

Martin said Wednesday the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but they believe it started around a freestanding natural gas stove.

According to Blair Bingham, the owner of the home, Atkinson stepped outside, and when he returned to the room, an armchair had caught fire.

By the time emergency personnel arrived, the home was totally involved in flames, but the family had all made it out of the building, Martin said.

“We put a curtain (of water) around it (the blaze) to protect the other buildings until it cooled enough that we could put it out,” he said.

The family did not have renter’s insurance, but community members are rallying to help them.

People have donated furniture, appliances, clothes, stuffed animals and backpacks filled with school supplies, Fitzgerald said.

She says they still need food, dishes, diapers and other items, which can be donated at her shop, It Fitz, at 3784 South Hwy 91 in Franklin. She is there from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, but there is a donation box outside for people who come after hours. People can also call 208-646-2234 for more information.

Fitzgerald said she’s grateful that her cousin’s family is OK, and that so many people are willing to help them recover from their losses.

“It’s very heartwarming,” she said, adding that people are coming from as far as Ogden, Logan and Richmond, Utah, to donate items to the family they have never met.

People are also donating money online to the “Hardy house fire fund,” which can be found at gofundme.com/hardy-house-fire-fund. As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, $1,620 had been donated to the family. The hope is to raise $5,000.

Following Monday’s house fire, Martin is reminding people to keep snow cleared away from fire hydrants so they’re easily accessible, and also make sure their home smoke detectors are working properly.