Family affected by fire is grateful for community; wants improved emergency communication for the future

Road 702 Wildfire loss of home
News 2 at Ten
Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 11:59 AM CDT
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Dave and Andela Taylor of Cambridge are facing a crisis they never imagined. They and their two grown children and Andela’s mom, Gloria, are facing it with grace, and hope for change. They say the fire that started in Kansas near the border (Road 702) just hours before blazing across their property, consuming their home, forced by wind gusts up to at least 60-miles-per-hour, happened so fast, and with very little warning. They knew the fire was burning, they knew the wind was blowing, but there were only sporadic messages on Facebook and other social media about its route, and not all of the information agreed.

Dave and Andela hope state emergency notice for wildfires can be improved. They say they were notified to leave by family and friends, and they encountered volunteer firefighters on the way out who were alerting area residents to evacuate. They say the volunteer firefighters and farmers saved the day Friday night.

When they ate breakfast in the morning, they never imagined by suppertime, that their house would be gone.

Andela was on bereavement leave from her job in Curtis, staying home and relaxing after just laying her dad, Gerald, to rest earlier in the week. Her father had lived in the home she and her husband Dave had raised their children. He took over the home and cared for the property his own parents owned, just out of the Air Force as a young bachelor. Gerald married Gloria and they raised Andela and her brother there.

Andela’s memories are many.

She added that her grandparents lived there first. In 2010, Dave and Andela had finished an addition to the original house.

Andela says the home was “a really cool place to be creative and dream big.” Until the Taylor family is able to sort out what they will do next they will stay with Andela’s mom at the Cambridge Bed and Breakfast in Cambridge. Andela says it is a blessing that she is able to do that.

The Taylor’s loved their home, saying it was a very inspiring place.

“Very serene. A dream destination for getting away from it all,”

Andela, fondly remembering

While the fire took everything physical from the Taylor’s, aside from a few items they grabbed in a hurry, they feel they still have everything in memories, and in each other. They are extremely grateful for the community and the outpouring of love. They are forever grateful to the local fire departments for saving Cambridge, and for all their brave efforts. They are grateful for the farmers out disking, and other volunteers.

They are forever grateful to their friend and extended family member J.P. Trumble of Cambridge. It was he who traveled down their drive, and the drive to so many neighbors, to make sure everyone was getting out safely. It was he who lost his life being a messenger. He died in the incoming smoke and fire just after making sure the Taylor family was safely out.

Dave and Andela do not want this to ever happen again. They say radios and technology can do so much, believing there must be a way to track a fire like this in real-time with real facts, such as weather apps and devices do, so people don’t have to drive down country roads in thick smoke to warn each other, and so families know when a fire shifts in the wind and is minutes from destroying everything.

The Taylor family appreciates the kind words and prayers. They insist any gifts people want to share go to the local volunteer fire departments.

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