TWIN FALLS — Brandi Bradford was in labor Thursday night when she found out her house was burning down.
Just five hours after the fire started, her fourth child — a baby girl, Lydia — was born.
She arrived at 1:34 a.m. Friday at St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center. She’s six pounds and measures 19 inches long.
Bradford is among two families displaced by a fire that broke out Thursday night at a duplex on Arrow Wood Court in northwest Twin Falls.
Friends have set up an online GoFundMe page to help Bradford, her fiancée Chris Zamora, and four children: 12-year-old Alexa, 7-year-old Talon, nearly 4-year-old Chris, Jr. and newborn Lydia.
As of Friday afternoon, they’d raised $250 toward a $15,000 goal.
The family didn’t have renter’s insurance, but has been in touch with their landlord, said Christina Weires, who is one of Bradford’s closest friends.
The American Red Cross has also reached out to both families displaced by the fire, said Matt Ochsner, regional spokesman for Idaho and Montana.
Depending on each family’s needs, the Red Cross can provide financial assistance; replace items such as prescription medications, medical equipment and eyeglasses; help with finding a place to stay; mental health support and connecting with other community resources.
Bradford said the American Red Cross provided her family with a $1,000 prepaid debit card to help with paying for a hotel room or anything else they need.
Her family lost everything — including brand new baby items like a car seat and bassinet. “All the furniture for the baby was ruined,” she said.
The family’s greatest need is clothes, Bradford said. Zamora had just gotten the duplex six months ago and bought new furniture.
But now, everything is gone.
Bradford said she was in labor at the hospital Thursday night and was waiting for medical staff to come back into her room. They had gone to call a doctor to come break her water.
“They came back in and said, ‘You need to get your fiancée on the phone and we need to talk to both of you,” she said. “I thought there was something wrong with the baby.”
A nurse at the hospital lives across the street from Bradford, and his wife had called to tell him the duplex was on fire.
The medical staff broke the news to Bradford and told her the property damage was severe. She talked with the neighbor.
“My fiancé’s truck got messed up and our whole house,” Bradford said.
She had only a few minutes to process the news before her water broke.
Zamora had left Friday for his job as a long haul truck driver and was almost to California when Bradford went into labor, and he wasn’t allowed to turn around to head home.
“He was devastated that he couldn’t be here for her birth,” Bradford said. “On top of that, our house was destroyed.”
The fire started after occupants of 911 Arrow Wood Court — the south side of the duplex — were draining fuel out of a vehicle gas tank inside the garage, said Twin Falls Fire Battalion Chief Brian Cunningham.
It’s unclear how the gasoline ignited, he said, but flames spread to the car, garage and into the second-level attic spaces in both units.
Firefighters got the blaze under control by 9:09 p.m., about an hour after it was reported.
There weren’t any injuries and everyone got out safely from the 911 unit, Cunningham said. No-one was home in the 909 unit, where Bradford and her family lived.
Early dispatch calls indicated two cats may have been inside one of the units, but Cunningham said he couldn’t confirm.
Cunningham said he doesn’t have a dollar estimate for the damage, but it’s extensive throughout both sides of the duplex.
Firefighters were mostly fighting the blaze from the outside of the structure, Cunningham said. “Due to the amount of fire and the large amount of smoke, I wasn’t sure about the stability of the structure.”
Weires, along with Bradford’s mother and sister, went over the duplex Friday morning to try to salvage any remaining items.
“There was extensive damage,” she said. “The ceiling fell down and there was insulation all over.”
They planned to put a few items they recovered — including a television and entertainment center — into a storage unit provided by the American Red Cross.
And now, they’re asking for the community’s help to assist Bradford and her family with getting back on their feet.
TWIN FALLS — Don’t know who to vote for in your city’s upcoming mayor or City Council election?
The Times-News will provide residents in four southern Idaho cities an opportunity to hear from their political candidates this week. The newspaper is hosting candidate forums in Heyburn, Burley, Gooding and Twin Falls.
“The Times-News is honored to host these community forums, which lead to better informed voters and a more engaged public,” Editor Matt Christensen said. “Folks will have a chance to pose questions to candidates, so the audience is sure to come away with a better understanding of where candidates stand on the issues and their plans for improving their communities.”
The forums begin Monday in Mini-Cassia, starting with Heyburn City Council candidates at 5 p.m. in Council Chambers, 941 18th St. Nile Bohon, Glen Loveland, Rose Schmitt, Dick Galbraith, Chad Anderson and Michael Covington are running for three open seats.
At 6:30 p.m. Monday, Burley residents can hear from their mayoral and City Council candidates at the Burley Council Chambers, 1401 Overland Ave. Mayoral incumbent Merlin Smedley will defend his seat against challenger Steve Ormond. Casey Andersen, Jon. R. Anderson, Ralph Carlson and Bryce Morgan are vying for three four-year seats on the Burley City Council.
At 6 p.m. Wednesday, Gooding mayor and City Council candidates will face off in the multipurpose room at Gooding High School, 1050 Seventh Ave. W. Incumbent Walter C. Nelson is running against Jeff Brekke for mayor. And Chuck Cram, Diane Houser, Mel Magnelli and Colin D. Smith are running for two seats on the City Council.
Twin Falls City Council candidates will participate in a forum at 6 p.m. Thursday at City Council Chambers, 305 Third Ave. E. Incumbent Suzanne Hawkins is running against Eric Smallwood, Liyah Babayan and Leon Mills for Seat No. 1. Incumbent Greg Lanting is running against Tim Allen and Larry Houser for Seat No. 5. And Christopher Reid will run against Brian Bell for Seat No 6.
“If you care about the future of your town, it’s time to engage and make yourself a smarter voter,” Christensen said.