A Regina family with five young children will face Christmas with no home and their father in the hospital after a house fire on Tuesday.
Lisa McArthur is a relative and said the kids, who are all under seven and their mom Tristen Buffalo are safe and healthy but their dad Murray Shepherd woke up from a coma in the intensive care unit (ICU). He’s being treated for smoke inhalation and second-degree burns covering his hands and arms up to his elbows.
“When the fire started, he was traumatized and he was running in the flames looking for his daughter, and he didn’t realize that his older children were in school,” McArthur said, after talking to her nephew in the hospital Wednesday.
McArthur explained Shepherd’s friend Bobby Netowaysin was also living in the house and helped get him out. He lost everything as well. Shepherd and his girlfriend, their kids and roommate were all left with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
“He told me that he could have died, and I told him not to think like that, but to think positive and to think about all the things he has to live for. And I assured him his children are OK,” McArthur said.
When Regina firefighters arrived at the scene on 4th Avenue west of Lewvan Drive, they found the house fully engulfed in flames. While they were able to bring the blaze under control quickly, the damage was extensive and the main floor was fully involved.
“They lost all their personal clothes, all their personal items, their furniture, everything that they owned,” she said, explaining the family had recently moved to the house and didn’t have insurance.
Shepherd had also been saving money for a Christmas surprise, but it’s now gone.
The family is staying at a local hotel arranged through the support of the Red Cross, but now they’re facing rebuilding a life with nothing.
As the word has spread, several local community members and relatives are collecting donations of clothing, toys, household items and furniture to help give the family a new start. The oldest girl is seven, there are two boys ages five and four, a two-year-old girl, and a seven-month-old baby boy.
McArthur said her nephew was happy to hear people were offering help. His uncle is also arranging a GoFundMe page to help the family get back on their feet.