Friends looking to raise support for Prince Albert man who lost home in fire

The charred remains of a kitchen show how little is left of Kenny Bautz’s house, which caught fire in the early hours of the morning on May 6. -- Submitted photo.

Friends and family of a Prince Albert man and his mother who lost their home in a fire are trying to rally community support to help them rebuild.

Kenny Bautz and his mother Sharon awoke at around 3 a.m. on May 6 to the sound of popping and the smell of smoke. They were able to escape the fire and take shelter in a neighbour’s house, but almost all their belongings were lost in the blaze. Their two pet cats also died in the fire, although five kittens who were recently born survived.

Family friend Katelin Jacobson, who has known Bautz and his mother for roughly 17 years, said they’re devastated by the fire, but hopeful the community can help them get back on their feet. Jacobson and another friend have started a GoFundMe page to help gather donations for the Bautz’s.

“I know Kenny’s still in disbelief,” Jacobsen said during a phone interview on Friday. “Yesterday (Thursday) he hadn’t slept, so he was kind of running on no sleep … and just trying to do the best he can.”

Jacobson said the goal is to raise at least $5,000 for Bautz, but they’re hopeful they can raise even more. She acknowledged that the last few months have been difficult financially for a lot of people, so they’re just asking residents to chip in whatever they can.

“We don’t want to be greedy,” she explained. “Times are tough with COVID, so we’re just hoping to get anything to help.”

Jacobson described Bautz as a kind-hearted person who is always willing to chip in and help. Now, she’s trying to return the favour by starting a fundraiser, and hopes the community support will follow.

“My initial thought (after hearing about the fire) was, ‘what can we do to help him and his mom?’” she said. “I needed to do something. I got the call from my sister about it, and I was up and ready to load kids (in the car) and go out the door and help.

“I needed to do something to help. He is the kind of guy who would give the shirt off his back to anyone just to help.”

To donate to the GoFundMe, visit Funds raised will be used to help replace necessities lost in the fire, like clothing.