Com­mu­nity ral­ly­ing to help Bloom­field, N.L. fam­ily af­ter dev­as­tat­ing fire

Six-year-old gives up her birth­day presents to help

The Packet (Clarenville) - - Front page - BY MARK SQUIBB [email protected]­acket.ca

Like many oth­ers in the area, in the wake of a fire that com­pletely de­stroyed the home of a Bloom­field fam­ily on Fri­day night, Krista Legge im­me­di­ately thought of what she and her fam­ily could do to help.

Krista told The Packet she and her hus­band, Michael, started talk­ing about how they could help, and how they could in­volve their five-year-old daugh­ter Olivia in the process.

They had al­ready planned a birth­day party on Sun­day for Olivia, who turns six on Dec. 20.

“So I was think­ing about how we could in­cor­po­rate some­thing to do for the fam­ily and in­volve Oliva as well.”

Krista and her hus­band thought about do­nat­ing some­thing from the party.

“Then we sat down to talk to Olivia about what had hap­pened, and the fire; we ex­plained that the chil­dren had un­for­tu­nately lost presents in the fire.”

Olivia im­me­di­ately had her own idea of how to help.

“We hardly even had the idea out of our mouth when she took the ini­tia­tive and said, ‘Mommy and Daddy, I don’t need presents. Let’s give my presents to the lit­tle boy and girl.’”

“I was sur­prised, but she’s al­ways had a huge heart,” Krista said. “She’s a very giv­ing child.”

The fam­ily posted a video to Face­book of Olivia re­quest­ing that people bring toys and money not for her, but for the fam­ily who had just lost their home.

They also ex­tended the guest list, open­ing up the party to any­one in the com­mu­nity who wanted to drop by with gifts for the Bloom­field fam­ily.

Krista says it made for a heart­warm­ing birth­day party.

“She was at her party and she knew that the presents weren’t go­ing to be for her. Sev­eral times, when some­body came to the door with a present she would greet them and say, ‘Oh my gosh, an­other present for the lit­tle boy and girl!’”

By the end of Sun­day, Olivia Flames en­gulfed the fam­ily home Fri­day night, Dec. 14.

had col­lected $535, plus gift cards and a pile of toys.

As of Mon­day evening, Dec. 17, she had col­lected a to­tal of $665.

“It’s awe­some. There’s no other way to re­ally es­cribe it but awe­some,” Krista said. “And It’s an ex­pen­sive time of year… not ev­ery­one can af­ford to give a lit­tle bit ex­tra, but so many people have been so amaz­ing and made it pos­si­ble.

“We’re be­yond proud of her.” Olivia, who at­tends Kin­der­garten at Ran­dom Island Academy,

did not have to go en­tirely with­out some presents of her own.

“A cou­ple of people brought a gift for both the boy and the girl, and said ‘No, Olivia has to have a present too.’”

This is just one of the ex­am­ples of the out­pour­ing of sup­port for the Si­b­ley and White fam­ily in the wake of the Dec. 14 fire.

For fire­fight­ers who re­sponded to the call, it was a dev­as­tat­ing scene.

Chad Layte, fire chief of the Leth­bridge fire depart­ment, says they re­ceived the call for as­sis­tance from the Mus­grave­town Fire Depart­ment around 6:30 p.m.

“When we ar­rived at the scene, the house was fully en­gulfed in flames,” he said. “It took ap­prox­i­mately four and a half hours to ex­tin­guish the fire.”

Fel­low fire­fighter Blaine Hicks says when the call came in ev­ery­one was al­ready at the fire hall work­ing on the depart­ment’s float for a pa­rade on Satur­day, and wasted no time head­ing to the scene.

“When I tipped the top of the hill by Sex­ton’s Lum­ber, I thought the whole cul-de-sac was on fire. My heart in­stantly sank,” she told The Packet.

“When we got there the house was fully en­gulfed. There was no way to save the house,” said Hicks, who says she has never had to face such a fire in her three years with the depart­ment.

She says around the home were the melted re­mains of what looked like the fam­ily’s in­flat­able Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions.

For­tu­nately, none of the fam­ily was hurt, but they lost all their per­sonal be­long­ings.

At that ter­ri­ble scene Hicks was in­spired to do some­thing to help the fam­ily have “the best Christ­mas ever” in the wake of their loss.

“I made the Face­book group that night and the re­sult was in­stant,” said. “Three o’clock in the morn­ing I was still an­swer­ing mes­sages on my phone.”

As of Mon­day evening, Dec.

17, the group, “A Si­b­ley and White Christ­mas”, had over

680 mem­bers, and had be­come a hub for col­lect­ing do­na­tions and sup­port for the fam­ily of four — Maryanne and Stephen, and chil­dren, Matthew, seven, and Rachel, two.

Hicks says she re­ceived $700 in cash the first day alone. By Mon­day morn­ing she had col­lected $1,250, plus a hand­ful of gift cards and bags of toys, and hand­made quilts for the chil­dren.

And that’s not in­clud­ing do­na­tions that have been col­lected by oth­ers or sent to the fam­ily di­rectly.

Hicks says in­di­vid­u­als, fam­i­lies, church groups, groups like the Clarenville Area Mi­nor Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion, schools and busi­nesses have all do­nated to the cause, and the gen­eros­ity keeps com­ing.

She says the re­sponse isn’t to­tally sur­pris­ing.

“I fig­ured ev­ery­body would pull to­gether. We usu­ally do in times like this.”

Con­nie Di­a­mond, who heard about the fire late Fri­day night, is one of the many people do­ing what they can to help.

She was at Ran­dom Square Mall in Clarenville from 12-4 p.m. Satur­day ac­cept­ing do­na­tions for the fam­ily.

“I was think­ing about it all last night, so I de­cided to use this as a drop off site,” said Di­a­mond.

“Ev­ery com­mu­nity wants to help.”

This Satur­day, Dec. 22, Santa will make a spe­cial visit to Leth­bridge to present the fam­ily with the gifts of toys and do­na­tions col­lected from all those who ral­lied to help.

CONTRIBUTED PHO­TOS

Six-year-old Olivia Legge with toys col­lected for Matthew, seven, and Rachel, two.

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