Edmonton Gym Owner Loses Everything in House Fire, CrossFit Community Raises $15,000 and Counting
At 3:45 a.m. on October 17, Edmonton, Alberta gym owner Dillian Carnegie was woken up when one of his two rescue dogs began barking.
“It’s pretty uncommon for my dogs to bark,” said Carnegie, the owner of Triform Athletics in Edmonton.
“So we got up and you could just see orange outside.”
The orange was from the flames that had engulfed he and his partner Todd Hulse’s family home.
“From there it was just grab the dogs, the cat and our identification and get out,” Carnegie explained.
The fire, which is still under police investigation today, went on to destroy “basically everything,” Carnegie said, except a couple dumbbells.
“Typical gym owners, salvaging gym equipment,” he joked.
Although he’s able to make jokes, the experience has been anything but comical and has led to a ton of uncertainty in he and Hulse’s life. The couple is currently staying in a rental home nearby and is hoping their home will be rebuilt, but only so they can sell it because there’s “no way we’re going back there,” Carnegie said.
He added: “Describing the experience is not so easy and tough to put into words. You work your entire life and build for over 30 years and within an hour it’s in flames and you’re not sure where to begin. We are incredibly lucky everyone was safe and no one was hurt.”
The CrossFit Community Steps Up
When Terry Butchart—a coach at nearby gym CrossFit Au in Sherwood Park, Alberta and a member of the local emergency services department that responded to the fire—heard about what happened to Carnegie, he knew he needed to do something to help.
So he set up a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for Carnegie and Hulse, a page that quickly raised more than CA$15,000, and is still collecting money today.
Carnegie does have insurance, but he isn’t sure how everything will play out, and he is currently still paying condo fees despite his house having been destroyed.
And although Carnegie said, “We are going to be OK,” he is also incredibly grateful for, not just the financial help from the CrossFit community, but from the overwhelming support at large.
“The gym community has been great and extremely supportive…Lots have donated to the GoFundMe, or help with animals, or a place to stay for a bit. I joke around a lot and realize if we can’t laugh about stuff it will haunt us, so I made a joke about only having one pair of underwear and the next thing you know I have more than one,” he said.
On a more serious note, Carnegie added: “It’s extremely overwhelming and will take a long time to repair. We are one of the fortunate ones, with a huge support system and so much to look forward to. As tough as it is today, it will get easier and lives can be restored over time.”
“The CrossFit world was the quickest to step up and it’s something we won’t forget.”