Staker family recovering after losing home in fire
January 26, 2010
A fund has been set up at Bank of the West, 139 E. Victory Way, to help the Staker family following the loss of their home and possessions.
To donate, visit the bank or call 824-9431.
A scorched safe, twisted pipes and a melted plastic dog kennel surround the remains of Devin and Susan Staker's home.
Looking at the wreckage left in the remains, Devin said he couldn't believe how destructive the blaze was that destroyed his home.
The Staker house, a log home near Moffat County Road 15, burned Jan. 16 after catching fire from an unknown source. The structure, rented to the Stakers by Lou Wyman, was destroyed in the blaze, as was everything inside.
Devin said he and his son Dallin, 19, were doing paperwork for their jobs with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's local office during the day of the fire. They then met Devin's wife, Susan, and the couple's daughter, Haylee, 2, in town for lunch.
Returning home that night, they said they could see smoke from the fire before they turned onto the road leading to the house.
Devin, Susan and Dallin ran toward the door, their first thought getting their dogs out of the house.
"We opened the door, and the smoke just about knocked us over," Devin said. "Then it just went fast."
Devin said he was amazed how quickly Craig Fire/Rescue was on the scene in the remote location.
"Somebody around here must have seen something and called them," he said.
Devin said saving the house must have seemed like a "lost cause" because of how fast the fire burned through it.
"A lot of what they did was spraying around our propane tank and trailer to make sure it didn't spread any more," he said.
Craig Fire/Rescue firefighters deemed the fire "fully involved" upon arrival. An exact cause could not be determined.
Chief Bill Johnston said the fire's origin likely came from the area of the house containing a wood-burning stove.
As firefighters worked to prevent further spreading, Haylee was asleep in her car seat.
"I am so thankful she slept through the whole thing," Susan said.
Susan said Haylee doesn't understand the family's situation.
"She's said a few times that she wants to go home, but it's hard to just tell her that it burned down," Susan said.
The Stakers were left with nothing as all their furniture, appliances and clothes went up in smoke, and the house collapsed under its melted tin roof. Even Devin's fireproof gun safe didn't stand up to the flames.
"Only the barrels were left," he said. "I had a lot of my important papers in there, too."
Although none of the family members were injured, the family dogs, Deeoghi and Angel, died in the fire. The Stakers' horses were in the stable during the incident and remained unharmed.
Devin said the family is keeping the horses on the property until they figure out what's next for them.
With family members out of state, the Stakers have been shifted around. The American Red Cross temporarily situated them in the Best Western Deer Park Inn and Suites, and they have moved.
"We're staying at the Elkhorn Outfitters for now, until we find a place," Devin said. "I'm working here, so we've got to find something here."
Devin said the community has helped the family out in their time of need.
"Craig Sports brought us a bunch of clothes," he said. "They really stepped up."
He added that a number of Dallin's peers had given them Walmart gift cards.
The Stakers did not have renter's insurance at the time of the fire. To help with money, Devin's ex-wife set up a fund for them at Bank of the West, 139 E. Victory Way, which is open for donations.
Devin said the ordeal has been like "a bad dream we're not waking up from."
"I'd never dreamed it would be this bad," he said. "Luckily, we've got each other."