Volin Family Homeless After Fire

VOLIN — An area family is looking to the future after their home was destroyed in a fire this past weekend.

"I think about the things I've lost, but I don't know — what do you do?" said Volin resident Justin Thompson. "You move on."

Neither Thompson nor his three children — Klara, 6, Kohners, 4, and Grayden, 5 months — were home at the time of the fire, which occurred Saturday night.

"I was at work all day," Thompson said. "My kids were actually gone for the weekend, so nobody had been there."

He added that his family was doing well, despite the circumstances.

"The kids got home (Monday), so they actually took it pretty well," Thompson said. "They're strong kids, and we're holding together. It's hard, but I think we'll make it through."

Volin firefighters were called to the scene a half-block from Mac's around 8:21 p.m. Saturday, and firefighters from Wakonda and Yankton were later called to assist.

Thompson said that whenever the fire started, it must have burned quickly.

"I stopped in at seven o'clock, and there was nothing going on, and I got the call right after eight, so it must have happened within that hour," he said.

The home, which was not insured, was completely destroyed in the fire.

A neighboring home also had smoke damage and lost power, and one member of the Volin Fire Department had to be taken to Avera Sacred Heart Hospital for a minor case of smoke inhalation.

A unit from the Lesterville Fire Department was also on the scene to help firefighters who might need to warm up after being exposed to the cold temperatures.

According to Yankton Deputy Fire chief Larry Nickles, the home had balloon framing similar to the Meckling and Scotland homes that burned in the past two months. Buildings with this framing don't usually have fire stops, which makes it easy for flames to travel within the walls and burn for some time without being noticed.

Thompson said the full impact of the incident has not hit him yet, and that now he is trying to take stock of what the family still has.

However, some of their losses are more difficult than others, he said, such as the family's cat, which died in the fire.

"I think that was a pretty hard blow to the kids," Thompson said. "They went to school (Tuesday), so their lives are going back to normal as much as possible."

But the community is pulling together to help the family in their time of need, he said.

"There's an apartment that Jeremy Nelson owns in Volin, so he's going to let me stay there until I find something permanent," Thompson said.

Thompson's sister, Deonna Rupp, said that a benefit auction is in the process of being set up, and there are things area residents can do to help before that time, as well.

One of those things is to donate essential living supplies that the family can use.

"Short term, we're needing small kitchen appliances, a vacuum, towels, bedding, washcloths, things like that," Rupp said.

Items such as these can be dropped off at Rupp's house, which is located in Volin at 308 Lincoln St.

Other drop-off points are being established in the surrounding area, including:
• The National Guard Armory in Vermillion
• CorTrust Bank in Gayville
• 123 E. Main St., Irene
A Yankton donation spot is currently pending.
Financial donations can also be made to the Justin Thompson Fire Benefit Fund at any CorTrust Bank location.
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Press & Dakotan reporter Nathan Johnson contributed to this report.

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