Red Deer mom in coma after trailer fire doesn't know her daughter died, best friend says

When Sarah Arlidge wakes up from an induced coma, someone will have to break the news that her seven-year-old daughter is dead.

The mother of three has been in an ICU bed at Calgary’s Foothills Hospital since an early morning fire on Friday tore through her family home at Les’s Trailer Park just outside Red Deer.

Her daughter, Charlotte, 7, died in the blaze. Her five-year-old son, Benjamin, was badly burned and is also in intensive care.

Arlidge’s boyfriend and her youngest son, Sammy, age three, escaped with minor injuries.

Her best friend, Jodi Bisio, has organized a Gofundme account that has raised more than $10,000.

“She does not know that her daughter is gone,” Bisio said Monday in an interview with CBC News. “The whole world does, but she doesn’t. We don’t know how she’s going to take it.”

Bisio said her friend loved animals and being outdoors and often took her children to the mountains.

“She’s so loved by her children and she loves them dearly. She’s a great mom.”

Arlidge in a family photo with her three children, Charlotte, Benjamin and Samuel. (Jodi Bisio)

Arlidge lost her husband to suicide in September 2018, Bisio said. She also recently mourned the loss of her father and a brother, she said.

Now the fire has taken the family’s home and belongings, said Bisio, who hopes to use the money raised to rent her friend a place to live and get her some furniture.

“She lost everything, and so did those kids. My goal as her best friend is to do exactly what she would do for me.”

Neighbour Darrell Comis said Arlidge and her children were among the first people he met when he moved in at the trailer park three years ago.

“She was always out her with her kids, playing, or going for walks with the dogs,” he said.

He woke up on the night of the fire and saw flames leaping high over Arlidge’s trailer. He soon heard four explosions.

It took first-responders 15 minutes to reach the scene, Comis said.

RCMP said they were called to the fire at 2 a.m. Friday. Red Deer County Fire Services evacuated neighbouring trailers and fought the blaze for several hours. 

The trailer park is west of Red Deer, at the junction of Highway 2 and David Thompson Highway.

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