Garretson, SD Three Garretson families are deciding what to do next after two homes were destroyed in a fire.
The fire on Center Avenue began around 4:00pm Thursday; luckily no one was hurt, but both homes and all of the items inside were destroyed.
A young family of three, their grandmother and their next door neighbor are now working to pick up the pieces. For the young Ellis family, this is the second time they've had to start over.
Their first home was destroyed by straight-line winds in Garretson in June of 2015. They had finally settled into their long-time family home owned by their grandmother Judy Ellis, only to lose everything again during Thrusday’s fire.
“Them having lost their home two years ago, it’s a very emotional day for them today and trying to pick up the pieces and where they're going to go from here,” Garretson community member Kris Frerk said.
Knowing the heartache this family has gone through, people in Garretson are even more determined to help support them every step of the way.
Frerk is the Co-manager of the Treasure Chest mission in Garretson which has become the headquarters for dropping off donations for the affected families.
“There's even more heartache and eagerness of the community to help them even more because of the heartache that they've had,” Frerk said.
“Twice, I can’t even imagine. They've been through a lot and hope they know people are all here for them,” Jessica Lamberc said.
Community members Lamberc began dropping off donations as early as Thursday night.
“I can't imagine,” Lamberc said. “We are fresh home owners so just starting out and I now realize what you actually need in the home. We have our own home and couldn't imagine losing it; it’s a big part of your life.”
“Yesterday as we were standing on the curb watching the houses burn ... people were already then bringing items for the firemen, contacting individuals on the curb that had lost their homes, saying come stay at my house, we'll give you donations,” Frerk said.
The bank in Garretson has accounts set up for the Ellis family and their neighbor, donations are being dropped off at the Treasure Chest and even the youngest members of the community are working to support their young friend.
“She attends Blue Dragon Academy daycare just down the street and they are starting little containers called coins for Kodie,” Frerk said.
All of the affected families are long-time members of the Garretson community and have had no shortage of offers for places to stay while they get on their feet.
The Garretson Fire Department says it is working with other local resources to determine the cause of the fire. Two pets were also lost in Thursday’s fire.