by nathan oster
A local man sustained first-degree burns to his face, arm and hands in a fire Sunday night that destroyed two trailer houses east of Greybull and left the home’s six inhabitants without a permanent place to live.
Michael Wunder was transported via LifeFlight to the Billings Clinic, where he was treated and released on Monday, according to his girlfriend, Dusky Getzfreid.
Wunder and Getzfreid had been living on the property approximately one mile east of Greybull since May of 2014. Living with them at the time of the fire were Dusky’s four children (Xavier Getzfreid, Xander Getzfreid and Xamika Getzfreid and Randy Crumrine) who range in age from 8 to 16 and Michael’s two nephews who are ages 9 and 12.
Dusky works in Thermopolis and was just getting off when she learned of the fire.
Four of the six kids in the home were asleep when the fire started, said Dusky, adding that her boyfriend quickly woke them up and got them, along with the other two children, out of the home and to safety.
She said she doesn’t know how the fire started — just that the back end of the trailer went up in flames quickly and that she was “grateful” for her boyfriend’s efforts to get all of the children out of the house.
Dusky said her boyfriend wasn’t moving real fast on Tuesday, but that he’s going to be fine.
She lived here as a kid and returned when she bought the property last year, but said that she no longer has family in the area. When contacted Tuesday, she said she, her boyfriend and the kids were staying at her boyfriend’s father’s place in Thermopolis.
“We’re going to try to get the kids back into school (on Wednesday),” she said. “For awhile, we’ll just drive back and forth.”
While thankful for their own health and for the fact that all of their dogs, cats and horses survived the fire, Dusky said it was a total loss in every other respect. “We lost five vehicles, the house and everything in it,” she said.
The top immediate need, she said, is for hay and straw for the horses, which stayed on the property.
“We want to thank the entire Greybull community for all their help,” she said. “Even though we are not there now, everyone’s been very helpful by donating money, clothes, things like that.”
If you would like to donate to the family’s cause, a GoFundMe account can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/sb77gf5r. Items can also be dropped off in Room 109 at Greybull High School, where Dawn Thur is coordinating collections.
Big Horn County Sheriff Ken Blackburn said the fire was reported at 11:51 p.m. on Sunday and that it appears it started around the wood stove. He confirmed Dusky’s account about Wunder getting the kids out of the home and then starting to fight the fire on his own. The Greybull Fire Department arrived soon after, but firefighters were unable to save the structure. The home was a complete loss, as were five vehicles on the property, according to Fire Chief Paul Murdoch and Blackburn.
Responding to the fire were members of the Greybull Fire Department, South Big Horn Search and Rescue, Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office, and the Greybull and Atwood ambulance services.