Gail and Randy Curless were awoken by a phone call at 5:30 a.m. Thursday at their home in Dover, Idaho. Their barn was on fire, a neighbor said.
“It was just totally engulfed and I couldn’t get in to get any animals out,” said Randy Curless. “They were probably already dead.”
Curless owns dozens of sheep and is in the midst of lambing season. He lost 17 ewes and lambs in the fire, which Curless said he believes started when a light bulb in a heat lamp exploded. “We’ll probably never know, totally,” he said.
Curless is the mayor of Dover, a small town outside of Sandpoint. His daughter Erica, a reporter with The Spokesman-Review, spread the word about the fire on her Facebook page. Soon, the social media site was humming with offers of lumber, fencing and labor.
People from Spokane showed up offering some lumber. Someone from Spirit Lake brought hay. “People have just been awesome,” Curless said. “I’ve helped a lot of people, but I’ve never needed help myself. It just makes you humble. It really gives you a lot of faith in humanity.”
Curless worked Saturday to create temporary shelters for the lambing ewes. He still needs lumber and large poles to use as supports.
“We’ve got people that want to come help; we just need material to build with,” he said.
Curless built the barn more than 20 years ago.