Nevada County community steps up to help family displaced by fire
How you can help
If you are interested in donating to help the Brewers, contact Becky Brewer at 916-798-8357. Immediate needs are for gift cards, gas cards or clothing. Future needs include a new rental home and household goods.
Becky and Eric Brewer already had a lot on their plate, with two kids set to show goats and turkeys at the Nevada County Fair — which kicks off Wednesday.
Saturday morning, they suddenly had way more to handle, after a fast-moving fire consumed their Meadow Drive home.
The Brewers fled their house in the wee hours of the morning with just minutes to spare, without even their shoes. Luckily, all three of their children were away from home — and none of the animals, including three cats and a dog, were injured.
“It was a true blessing,” Becky Brewer said.
Becky had just gotten up and looked outside at about 2:40 a.m. to see a small ball of fire outside, off the back porch.
Fire investigators have told her that they believe the fire — which still is under investigation — actually started under the house and “blasted” out from under the deck.
“Within four minutes, we were running out, there were flames coming through the floorboards,” she said. “You run with what you have. There’s just nothing else you can do.”
Laura Nickerson-Keller got a phone call from Becky at 3:30 a.m. The two women have been friends for nearly 15 years after meeting at a Mommy & Me play group.
“She said she knew I would answer the phone,” Nickerson-Keller said. “She told me their house just burned down and they barely made it out.”
Luckily, she said, the Brewers’ vehicles survived, and their camp trailer was stored on her property and also escaped the blaze.
“We’re doing what we can,” Nickerson-Keller said, adding that since the Brewers fled with what they had on, they don’t even have the basics such as toiletries. High on the list of needed items are gift cards for food and gas. The Brewers hope to have a donated storage unit by next week, and then will be set up to accept donated household items and furniture.
“They’re in survival mode right now,” Nickerson-Keller said.
The family has taken refuge in their camp trailer for now, but will need a new home with about an acre for the turkeys and goats, and either three or four bedrooms.
With their home a total loss, the Brewers thought their plans for showing animals at the fair would have to be shelved. All of the supplies the kids needed to show their animals, Becky said ruefully, were packed in tubs and ready to go, but were consumed by the fire.
“The kids lost everything, their boots, their ‘whites,’ Nickerson-Keller explained. “They did find their hats and we’re trying to salvage them.”
“I didn’t know if we were going to be able to show this year,” Becky said. “But 4-H has totally stepped up and Colfax Feed has donated feed and supplies. I’m just happy the kids will be able to do this.”
“You really do see the blessings in disguise,” she said of the community support, tearing up.
Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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