We’ll start with the good news: Everyone is okay.
But beyond that, the two-alarm fire that damaged the house at 158 Prospect last Friday morning has turned the life of Bernal’s Grant-Weisler family upside down, because their home is no longer habitable and much of their stuff is destroyed. At the time of the fire, the house was occupied by a family of two parents and three kids, their au pair, and two visiting houseguests.
But that brings us to another silver lining: This is Bernal Heights, and neighbors here help one another during times of need. A crowdfunding effort has gotten underway to help the Grant-Weisler family begin to rebuild, and all Bernalese are invited to contribute.
We’ll have more detail on the crowdfunding effort in a moment. But first, here’s a note from Neighbor Sam, the mom of the house at 158 Prospect:
Tonight I am grateful. So grateful. And I feel lucky. So lucky.
That’s not what I would expect to be feeling after standing on the sidewalk and watching my home of the past 15 years, the home where all 3 of my kids were born, the home where JJ Wiesler and I have built our whole adult life together, go up in flames.
But it’s amazing how quickly your priorities come clear when you are forced to choose, in a second, what is most important to you. People, memories, photos, videos, musical instruments, the kitchen table around which so much of my life has unfolded, my dads lap desk and typewriter, cameras, journals…
Everyone is OK. The girls are pretty shaken up, but they’re going to be fine. And the baby is just going with the flow. To him, it’s just another day of new experiences.
The only person who was injured was one of the 66 amazing firefighters from the San Francisco Fire Department who risked their lives today to save our home. I am so moved, overwhelmed with gratitude, by the moments of kindness that we experienced in this insane day from hell. The female firefighters, who are also moms, who took the time to rescue the kids lovies. The other firefighter who returned our emergency cash stash that was about to disappear into the flames. The other firefighters who went back into an active fire to recover all our family photos and videos. The neighbors who boxed up and stored our salvaged belongings without even being asked. The other neighbors who quietly pressed their keys into our hands, offering beds, pillows, towels, food, and even a friends apartment where we are staying right now. I’m so moved.
The “Grant-Wiesler Onward & Upward Fund” was launched by Bernal Neighbors Aaron and Bronwyn Ximm. They write:
Thankfully, and most importantly, everyone is fine.
Their warm and welcoming home however is unlivable, and most of the family’s posessions were lost.
The Grant-Wielsers are bracing for for a very long climb to restore, remake, and rebuild.
As friends and family, many of us immediately wonder how we can help in this time of need.
One certain thing is that during the next few months especially, the family’s cash flow is going to be both complicated and unpredictable.
There will be hundreds of compounding expenses small and large to re-acquire the tools of modern life.
One way we can help is to build the Grant-Wielsers a ‘slush fund’ for those occasions.
There will be many ways to help West, the girls, and Sam and JJ!
But if you can make a donation–and of course, of any size at all!–it will make a real difference, one that will be received with profound gratitude.
About the campaign organizers: we are Aaron, Bronwyn, Ember, and Juniper Ximm. We are a family of close neighbors and friends of the Grant-Wieslers.
Our families shared the same world-class nanny over many years. Only a few days ago our girls traded morse code messages from our front porch to their back one.
We can’t believe it’s going to be a year or more before we can trade more morse code. We love them one and all, and wanted to immediatley get some help organized on their behalf!
If you’re so inclined, please contribute to the fire recover fund here. As of this writing, the fund has raised $5500, with a goal of hitting $12,500.
You know what to do, Bernal neighbors: Let’s hit that goal — and then exceed it.
PHOTO: Fire at 158 Prospect, by Tom Baker