Berkshire Fire

Kristina Kehrer's picture

A Pink Dora the Explore Jacket & Lime Green Adidas Cleats

That is what two strangers gave to the barefoot mother and jacket-less child who ran out into the cold December day, when Berkshire Street erupted and then became engulfed in billowing flames.

She and her one-year-old son were the last residents to exit the Just-A-Start rental property, St. Patrick’s Place, on the corner of Berkshire and York Streets, December 3, 2016.

As the young mother stood numb and in shock, a woman in the crowd took the pink Dora the Explorer Jacket off her own daughter and put it on the woman’s son. Another complete stranger, a man, gave her his lime green Adidas Cleats, which she wore for days despite them being three-sizes too big.

It has been a year and a half since the Berkshire fire and the young mother cannot remember the faces of those strangers in the crowd. This bothers her immensely. She worries she will pass by them on the street without acknowledgement, and they may think of her as ungrateful, which is the farthest from the truth.

Surviving a house fire is one of life’s most traumatic events. On local newscasts, the focus is always the financial costs of the damage done, but what of the human cost?
In this hustle and bustle world, which leap frogs on to the next tragic event, it is sometimes best and cathartic to let someone tell you his or her story, even if anonymously as is the case with this young mother recalling a most tragic day, December 3, 2016.