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Community Rallies Together to Support Eikenberg Family After Devastating House Fire

By Raina Lucero

November 14, 2023

On the early evening of November 13, tragedy struck the Eikenberg family as a house fire engulfed their home. Sarah Eikenberg, along with their four children—Jaden, Reona, Waylon, and Brody—narrowly escaped the blaze, fleeing with only the clothes on their backs. Karl arrived shortly after the first responders arrived and took in the horrifying scene of his home engulfed in flames. Fortunately, the family emerged unharmed, thanks to the swift response of the local community and emergency services.

The fire, which has been identified as a cooking grease fire by Russ Watson, Kiowa County Fire Protection District Chief, erupted and a call to 911 went out at 05:46 pm, triggering an immediate response from 18 firefighters, 3 EMS personnel, 2 sheriff’s deputies, and 1 emergency management representative. Additionally, Haswell and Sheridan Lake volunteers also answered the call and assisted the Eads Fire Department, neighboring communities, including Kit Carson and Cheyenne Wells, were on standby to assist with any other emergencies in the county during the incident.

The fire was finally extinguished at 8:02:02 after hours of diligent effort by the dedicated responders. Three pumper engines, two quick attacks, one tender, and one rescue truck were deployed in the operation, showcasing the coordinated response by the volunteers to contain the flames.

Despite the valiant efforts, the Eikenberg family’s home is likely to be declared a total loss. According to Watson, the living room, kitchen, and dining room suffered full-through damage, while the rest of the house experienced extensive smoke and water damage. Despite the heartbreaking loss, some belongings from the sunroom, downstairs area, master bedroom, and two other bedrooms on the main level were salvaged.

The community immediately rallied together to support the Eikenberg family in their time of need. Praise Community Church opened its doors to collect clothing and shoes for the family, who had to flee with minimal belongings. Jaden, one of the children, was only in shorts when escaping the blazing home.

The power company promptly cut off power to the affected home and swiftly restored power to neighboring houses. Expressing gratitude, the Eikenberg family extends heartfelt thanks to all the firefighters, EMS personnel, law enforcement officers, emergency management representatives, and Southeast Power, as well as Bent County Dispatch for their quick response and support during the crisis.

Karl’s sister, Krystal Eikenberg, took to Facebook to share updates, noting that the family would be assessing their situation in the coming days. Currently gathered at Kemma’s house, the Eikenbergs are grappling with the shock of the incident.

In response to the community’s outpouring of support, Krystal stated, “A huge thank you to all the firemen, sheriff’s office, emergency management for acting as quickly as you did!! Your support and hard work for the 4 hours it took to get the flames out can never be repaid, and there are no words that can express how much you are appreciated!! There are so many more to thank.”

To assist the family in navigating through the aftermath of the fire, a donation account has been set up at GN Bank, and a GoFundMe campaign is available online. These initiatives aim to alleviate the immediate financial burdens and help the Eikenberg family rebuild their lives after this devastating incident. The resilience and unity of the community shine brightly as they come together to support their neighbors in their time of need.

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