Community Rallies for Family Who Lost Everything in Christmas Eve Fire

| December 27, 2018

REDBANK TWP., Pa. (EYT) – The Redbank Valley community is rallying behind a local family who lost their home to a structure fire on Christmas Eve.

A fundraiser and two donation drives have been established for the Crawford family who lost their Redbank Township, Armstrong County home, all of their clothing, and their possessions.

Family members and friends started a GoFundMe fundraiser (available here) for the Crawford family to help raise money for their needs following the fire.

On Wednesday, December 26, the community began collecting immediate needs for the family at the Redbank Valley Community Center.

Redbank Valley High School teacher Blane Gold told exploreVenango.com that anyone who wishes to donate items for the family can place them in weather-resistant packaging and leave them on the back deck of the center located at 430 Broad Street in New Bethlehem.

The following clothing sizes were listed for the four young family members:

  • 17-year-old male: Large shirts, 31×34 jeans, size 10 shoes
  • 19-year-old male: 2X shirts, 38×36 jeans, size 11.5 shoes
  • 18-year-old female: Small/Medium shirts, small/medium leggings, size 4 jeans, size 7 shoes
  • Young female: Girls Size 10 clothes, size 2 shoes

Anything donated that cannot be used by the family will be donated to Goodwill.

The Redbank Valley Wrestling Club will also be collecting clothing donations at the Christmas Tournament being held at Redbank Valley High School on Saturday, December 29.

The tragedy began on Christmas Eve.

According to Clarion County 9-1-1, the initial call came in at 6:25 p.m. on Monday, December 24, for a structure fire at 930 Lower Mudlic Road in Redbank Township, Armstrong County.

Hawthorn Area Volunteer Fire Department, New Bethlehem Volunteer Fire Company, Limestone Volunteer Fire Department, Rimersburg Hose Company, Corsica Fire Company, Summerville Volunteer Firemen’s Association, and Ringgold Area Volunteer Fire Company were dispatched to the scene.

Clarion Hospital Ambulance was also dispatched.

According to Hawthorn Volunteer Fire Department Chief Curtis Kiehl, one of his department’s officers was on the scene within five minutes of the initial call and reported that the structure was already fully engulfed.

“He said the whole house was pretty much a ball of fire,” Fire Chief Kiehl told exploreVenango.com.

According to Kiehl, the firefighters’ efforts were stymied by the size of the structure and the fact that the home’s steel roof collapsed, making it impossible for them to enter the building.

“We had to let it burn itself out,” Kiehl said. “The family lost everything, there was nothing salvageable left.”

The crews initially cleared the scene of the fire around 11:30 p.m. on Monday but had to return to the scene twice on Christmas day, once in the morning and once in the evening, when the fire managed to rekindle.

Kiehl said that as of their last check on the fire scene Wednesday morning, the burnt remains had finally stopped smoldering and steaming.

Kiehl also noted that though the family was home at the time of the fire, they were all able to exit safely, and no one was injured.

“Whatever anyone can do to help this family out would be great. They lost absolutely everything,” Kiehl said.

The cause of the fire is still unknown.

According to Kiehl, a state police fire marshal was called to the scene, and an investigation is underway.


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Category: Community, Local News, News