A GoFundMe created to help the victims of the Dec. 5 house fire on David Lee Street in Anchor Point has already raised more than $3,700 of its $10,000 goal. Mathany Satterwhite’s daughter, Angelica Haakenson, created the GoFundMe to raise money for her family to find a new home and purchase essentials that were lost in the fire.
Satterwhite, a resident of the log cabin that burned down, said while her family lost everything in the fire, they were just thankful to get out alive.
“I’m so thankful it wasn’t at 2 in the morning,” Satterwhite said. “I don’t think any of us would have made it out if it was during the night.”
Satterwhite and her dad were working to fix the house’s frozen pipes when her niece and daughter came upstairs to tell her it was smoky in the house. When Satterwhite went downstairs to see what was wrong, smoke was already filling the house from the fire that started from the wood-fire heating system in the stove room.
“It all happened so fast,” Satterwhite said. “It was really hard to breathe and it’s really black. When I got all of the way downstairs, the smoke was already down to my waist.”
“I went into the stove room,” she continued,” … and I look to my side and see fire, so I ran back in and yelled ‘We all need to get out right now, we need to get out of the house.’”
Her niece already had Satterwhite’s infant in her arms heading out the door, and Satterwhite and the rest of the kids followed. In the moment, all she cared about was getting the kids out of the house before the situation worsened.
“I made sure that all five of the kids I had in there were out,” Satterwhite said.
Satterwhite and the children took shelter at her brother’s house next door and called 911 for help.
Western Emergency Services was called out for the fire around 7:30 p.m., and by the time they arrived, the center of the structure was on the verge of collapsing, Deputy Fire Chief Robert Mathis, who served as incident commander, said. Western Emergency Services, Homer Volunteer Fire Department and Kachemak Emergency Services responded to the fire.
“We initiated a defensive attack immediately to try and stop it,” Mathis said. “… Someone related to the homeowners relayed that the structure was a log-type structure with spray foam insulation, so we had extreme fire behaviors.”
“The problem we had was by the time we were able to get the necessary people there, water and all of the other stuff, the center portion of the structure collapsed, in which case it goes to 100% straight defensive fire(fighting),” he continued.
The fire was caused by a wood-fire heating system right outside the cabin.
“It was more than likely caused by radiant heat from that system getting far too close to it,” Mathis said.
Mathis reported the fire was controlled by 10 p.m. and the last emergency responder left the area after 1 a.m.
“There was a wall and a half left, maybe two walls left,” Mathis said of the remaining structure.
“I didn’t think the cabin was going to burn all of the way down,” Satterwhite said.
Now Satterwhite and her three kids are staying with her parents until she can find a new home for them to start over in.
“If I had to do it over again, as long as I got the kids out, that was the most important to me,” Satterwhite said. “It’s hard to explain all of the emotions. … I was just crying a lot because of the irreplaceable stuff, letters and pictures … was all gone. That kind of hurts, but I keep telling myself that I got all of my kids out and that is the most important thing.”
How to help
Donations can be made to the GoFundMe at https://gofund.me/1b91a0e0.
“Anything helps even if it’s a couple cents,” Haakenson wrote.
Satterwhite shared the family is currently in need of clothes: women’s sizes 2x for shirts, 18-20 pants and 11-12 for shoes for Satterwhite; girls clothes sizes 6-7 and sizes 1 or 2 in shoes for Brayleigh; girls clothes sizes 5-6 and size 12 for shoes for Claire; and six-month clothes, size three diapers and size 6-9 months shoes for Declan. Donations can be delivered Sarges Multi-Service.
Additionally, Satterwhite said they will need furniture as they search for a new home in the future. Currently Satterwhite and her three children are staying with her parents.
Satterwhite said those who want to help but aren’t sure how can send gift cards to P.O. Box 461 Anchor Point, AK 99556.
Unfortunately, the family lost a dog and a ferret in the fire, but another pet, a grey pitbull named AJ, is suspected to have escaped the fire. She was wearing a pink reflective collar. If found, call 907-399-7139.
Several community members have already helped the family by donating clothes and car seats for the children, and Satterwhite says she is so thankful for their generosity.
“Thank you to everybody from the bottom of my heart,” she said. “I appreciate it so much what everyone has been doing and what everyone has been dropping off.”
Reach Sarah Knapp at email@example.com.