Alpine couple devastated after Christmas Eve house fire; forced to start over

ALPINE, Calif. - A fire of unknown origin tore through a rental home in an Alpine neighborhood Tuesday, heavily damaging the structure and leaving two people in need of emergency lodging.

The non-injury blaze in the 400 block of Arnold Way in Alpine erupted about 8:15 a.m.

It took crews about 20 minutes to gain control of the flames, said Brad Rushing, division chief with the Alpine Fire Protection District.

The American Red Cross was called in to help the displaced residents, who were not home when the fire erupted in the single-story wooden home, arrange for interim housing.

"I have part of my dresser. I mean, we don't have anything anymore," said Shara Halverson.

Halverson and her boyfriend had spent the night at her sister's home in Pine Valley and got a call the home was on fire.

"It's completely gone. It's just black soot," said Halverson.

The cause of the blaze was under investigation, Rushing said.

The young couple moved in a month and a half ago, and they were ready to start a life in a community they love.

Halverson worked for three years at the Alpine Brewing Company and was excited to now be living in the small town.

Now, the couple has to start over.

"I have my boots, the clothes on my back -- it's so crazy," said Halverson.

Firefighters were able to save a few items from the home.

Halverson picked through what was left of her belongings and found her grandmother's jewelry box decorated with a Christmas scene.

She also found an ammonite fossil she received as a gift from a close friend.

"I'm so happy it's OK. It's a little damaged but it's the oldest fossil in the world. I think it can survive a little fire," said Halverson.

But maybe the most special thing saved was a love letter that her boyfriend had picked out from the ashes.

"I could have never reworded it. That is me in the midst of just complete truth and just completely in love. So that's really special I still have that … because that's what really matters," said Halverson.

Halverson and her boyfriend don't have renter's insurance.

The Red Cross will help out with basic needs but they don't know where they are going to live or how they'll pay for a new apartment. They hope they'll be able to stay in Alpine.

Print this article Back to Top