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Hamilton family loses everything in house fire

A fire engulfed Terra Foster's family home on U.S. Highway 93 on Sunday, April 30, 2023, at around 8:15 p.m.
House burned Hamilton
House Fire Hamilton
Posted at 4:25 PM, May 05, 2023

HAMILTON - A family in Hamilton lost everything when their house caught fire and now communities in the Bitterroot Valley are helping them build back up.

A fire engulfed Terra Foster's family home along U.S. Highway 93 on Sunday, April 30, 2023, at around 8:15 p.m.

Fire departments from Hamilton, Corvallis, and Darby responded and put the fire out within 30 minutes, but not before several beloved pets were lost and the father of the family, Read Arnold, was injured. He's now in a burn unit at an Idaho hospital.

House Fire Hamilton
The cause of the blaze remains under investigation, but according to the Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department, it's believed that a cigarette ignited the fire.

“Everything was lost. Anything that was in the house is gone. So, every little thing you can even imagine is having to be replaced. Salt and pepper shakers, all just things you don’t even think about that we just always have,” explains family friend and supporter Sarah Fryer.

The family is feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to start over.

When something immensely tragic happens, like a fire, there are resources available.

“So, the first thing that happened is Red Cross met them at the hospital. And then we were told to go to Salvation Army," Fryer said. "And then, each place we went to kind of pointed in another direction to where we could get her more help.”

House burned Hamilton
The remains of a home that caught fire on April 30, 2023, on U.S. Highway 93 in Hamilton.

Fortunately for the family, they live in the connected communities of Hamilton and the Bitterroot Valley where people have been supporting the family with both monetary and material donations.

“It’s very much Hamilton, everybody has been overwhelmingly supportive,” Fryer stated.

MTN's Emily Brown spoke with Terra over the phone and she said that the outpouring of support and love is something she’s never experienced before and has no words to describe her gratitude.

In true Bitterroot Valley spirit, Terra is already trying to plan the way she can give back to her community.

If you’d like to support the family monetarily visit their GoFundMe site here. For information on all other donations and ways to help, click here.