The Wood River Valley is rallying behind two Ketchum-area families—one whose home was reduced to rubble, and one whose home was severely damaged—after a fire broke out early Friday morning.
Seven engines from the Ketchum, Ketchum Rural and Sun Valley fire departments and Wood River Fire & Rescue were dispatched to the scene at The Meadows mobile-home park around 5:48 a.m., Sun Valley Assistant Fire Chief Rich Bauer said.
The cause of the fire remains undetermined. It was initially reported that three neighboring mobile homes received minor damage, but Karen Hernandez said the damage to her home was anything but minimal.
“We can’t live there anymore. Everything is ruined,” Hernandez, 16, told the Express on Monday.
She said her family cannot afford the estimated $8,000 in plumbing and electrical repairs, and their clothing and furniture had been “totally smoked” and rendered useless. Pictures that Hernandez emailed to the Express depicted charred walls, blackened piping and torn insulation inside the home.
“We have no idea when we can return,” Hernandez said, adding that her family has been staying with relatives in Ketchum in the meantime.
Hernandez, a sophomore at Wood River High School, recalled becoming alerted to the fire early Friday morning after hearing “popping” sounds, at which point she woke her younger sister and parents and dialed 911.
“I got up, saw the flames from the kitchen window and woke up my family,” she said.
Around that same time, respiratory therapist James Farley was working his usual night shift at St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center.
Upon returning to his home at The Meadows—with just the scrubs on his back and a stethoscope around his neck—Farley was stunned to find that it had burned to the ground.
Fortunately, his 27-year-old son, Christopher, and dog, Pugsby, had made it out.
“I’m just feeling very lucky my son got out of the house,” Farley said on Friday.
He said St. Luke’s is providing temporary housing for himself, Christopher and Pugsby. The hospital is also collecting donations for the Hernandez family, as Ruben Gomez—Karen’s father—works in the St. Luke’s OR department.
As of Tuesday morning, a GoFundMe campaign established by Farley’s co-workers had raised more than $9,100. That fund-
raiser can be found at gofundme.com/f/ebnqg-house-fire-complete-loss.
A GoFundMe was also set up for the Hernandez family this week by The Meadows property manager Jennifer Dealy, and that can be found at gf.me/u/wwm6ay.
All inquiries about donations for the Farley and Hernandez families should be directed to the Sun Valley Fire Department at 208-622-8234 or The Meadows business office at 208-726-5656. Clothing can be dropped off at the Sun Valley Elkhorn Fire Station, the Volunteer Desk at St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center or The Meadows business office via Jennifer Dealy; size information for each person is available upon request.