BERRYHILL, Okla. — A Berryhill family is trying to get back on their feet after losing everything in a house fire.
“It’s not something you ever do expect to happen," Julia said. "It actually feels really surreal. I think we’re still in shock.”
Julia and Jacob moved into their rental home just a few weeks ago, right before Christmas.
“That was like my little dream house in Berryhill," Julia said. "And I’m just so glad we got to spend a Christmas there because it was a beautiful Christmas, but man I wasn’t ready to leave it.”
It was their last Christmas in the home. Jacob was putting up shelves around 10:30 Thursday night when he noticed a burning smell and thought the dryer was broken.
“I opened the garage door and it wasn’t the dryer," Jacob said. "The garage was on fire.”
Jacob was able to get himself, their son and their dog out. Julia was not home at the time. Sadly, their cat died in the fire.
Jacob said the fire department believes an electrical issue in the garage caused it. The garage had been holding many of their possessions as they worked on moving in.
“Walking through the house today it looked like an apocalyptic scene and it was just so sad, like, there’s nothing left," Julia said. "Everything is demolished.”
The Clary’s are not alone in their loss.
The American Red Cross of Oklahoma said, only one week into 2022, it has already responded to 50 house fires. At the current rate, the Red Cross said it could see fire response in the state increase 60 percent this year.
“We have more people at home breaking out the space heaters, turning on those fireplaces for the first time, just trying to get warm," said Linda Medford, preparedness programs manager for the American Red Cross of Oklahoma. "They’re plugging things into electrical cords, or extension cords, that should not be plugged into extension cords.”
The Red Cross suggests testing your smoke alarms and replacing them if they’re 10 years or older, make sure you have an escape plan and in the kitchen, move items that burn away from the stove.
“Keep everything, curtains, bedding, don’t put space heaters next to the bed," Medford said. "Three feet from the heat will help cut down on a lot of those things that catch fire.”
Meanwhile, Jacob and Julia are starting all over again. If you'd like to help you can donate to a GoFundMe for them here.
The Red Cross is also looking for volunteers. You can find more information here.
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