Just days before the March 3 snowstorm that temporarily changed the daily lives of those in Cottage Grove and the surrounding area, the Wilson family was dealing with the aftermath of a tragedy that has meant changes in their lives that are anything but temporary.
The early evening of March 1, neighbors of Jared Wilson and his family were awakened by a loud explosion that prompted frantic calls to emergency responders.
According to South Lane County Fire & Rescue Division Chief Joe Raade, family members had been evacuated by the time SLCFR crews arrived, with Wilson, who suffered severe burns, being tended to by neighbors. Though the home’s smoke detectors had awakened the two children at home during the incident, Wilson presumably didn’t exit the home until after the explosions.
Though the explosion and fire, believed to have been the result of an accident involving a turkey fryer, was quickly contained, Wilson was transported to the hospital before eventually being moved to a burn center in Eugene.
Two days later, the tragedy was compounded by the worst snowstorm in nearly a century as the family of four was already trying to recover from the devastating house fire.
Shortly after power and Internet service were restored to the area, community members began rallying for the Wilsons, collecting donations of food and clothing, setting up a GoFundMe page and organizing a benefit set for this Saturday at Cottage Bowl, where Jared Wilson’s wife, Andrea, works.
“We’re like family here, so it was devastating when we got the news about her husband and home,” said Cottage Bowl owner Natalie Cardoza. “They can use any help that they can get. The family is looking at a rough recovery.”
This Saturday’s fundraiser for the Wilsons includes three games of bowling for $20, including shoes as well as a 9-pin no-tap, 8-pin no-tap and 3,6,9 strike.
In addition to bowling, there will be a raffle of donated items throughout the night.
“We have some super things donated, like bowling balls, fudge, gift cards, bowling shoes, coffee cards, Lularope, free bowling and more,” said Cardoza.
All proceeds from bowling admission and raffle tickets will go to the Wilson family.
The benefit begins at 6:30 p.m. To reserve a spot or donate a raffle item, call Cardoza at 541-767-2695.
To donate view the GoFundMe page set up for the Wilsons, visit www.gofundme.com/t9uaf-wilson-family-fund.
As of press time, the account had raised more than $14,000.
“I’ve had people come in who I know don’t have a lot of extra cash but they are more than willing to help,” Cardoza said in an interview with KEZI. “It’s pretty amazing. It leaves you speechless.”