A couple who had been living in an RV temporarily have lost everything they own after a fire destroyed the vehicle Wednesday afternoon.
“We had downsized and were planning on saving money,” Debra Branham said Friday in Agassiz. She and her husband are now trying to map out their next steps, as the fire has left them homeless and without any possessions.
“It may not have been a lot to some people, but it was everything to us,” she said. “All our earthly possessions.”
Even her parents’ ashes, which she had been carrying with her for the past 11 years.
“I had packed them with me,” she said. “They were in there.”
Out of the ashes, though, comes a few positive turns, she added.
“I just want to say I’m so thankful for the fast response and the kindness from the fireman who helped me,” she said, although she did not catch his name in the distress.
She said the fireman raked through the ashes slowly, so she could look for anything left of value, including the container of her parents’ ashes.
“Of course, it took me only about three minutes to decide it was worthless,” she said. “But he took his time and let me decide. They were just so sensitive, and let me come to that conclusion on my own.”
And, she said, maybe it was all a sign from her late parents.
“Maybe it was time to let them go,” she said. “And now they have a beautiful view of Mt. Cheam.”
The couple was renting the RV on a lot in Agassiz, and had just been there for a few weeks.
The fire broke out in the early afternoon, and quickly tore through the RV. Vehicles parked near it were also damaged in the fire.
Branham is connected with local community services, who are helping her pick up the pieces now that her and her husband have nothing.
“People are so friendly here in Agassiz,” she said.