Two Rivers residents rebuild after home lost to arson

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 4:46 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Don and Virginia Mckee are picking up what is left of their home in the small town of Two Rivers, just outside of Fairbanks, Alaska.

In the early hours of July 3rd 2021, a serial arsonist set their house aflame, leaving behind the Mckee’s to clean up what was once their home.

“It’s the last thing I thought would have happened to my husband and I. It’s the last thing I thought would happen to Two Rivers,” says Virginia.

Despite their hardships they have persevered although she says it hasn’t been easy.

“All of the tools, all of the little things that made our lives a little easier are gone and . . so that smacks you in the face pretty hard, pretty regular still,” she added.

The Mckee’s lost thousands of dollars worth of tools and equipment in the arson. They are carpenters who are self sufficient, but without any tools to rebuild their new house it is a struggle, on top of the rising price of lumber.

Together along side helping hands of the community they are continuing to rebuild a new life and are thankful for their neighbors and other residents that have offered help.

Two Rivers became a place where the towns folk were suspicious of everyone and everything during the three months the fires occurred. The community is still not at rest and there is an eerie feeling that still hangs over the quiet town.

“When you hear a car or something drive by . . it’s . . it will all take time,” Mckee said, adding there are still too many unanswered questions for the people of Two Rivers to rest.

Mac Lebeau is Virginia Mckee’s son. He traveled up to Alaska from the lower 48 to help his mom and others in the town who were also victims of the arsons.

“This is where I grew up. Ginger Mckee is my mom and the building that she lost is my childhood home.” said Lebeau.

Lebeau reminisced on the place where he learned to ride horses, having his old home being a place for countless 4-H events and community celebrations.

“We had Halloween parties, fundraising horse shows, and we had tons of stuff that happened in that building, and its gone,” said Lebeau holding back his emotion.

“Obviously I would be lying if I said anger, I mean did not say anger. Sad, super sad. Because there is so much history, so much history that was here, and good people and its all gone. And we don’t know why,” he added.

The Mckees are looking forward to moving into their new home, but say removing the waste left behind has been their biggest hurdle. Making it harder to move on while looking out their window on the reminders of the past. With the change of season and snow on the way the Mckees are looking to find a way that is affordable to remove all the debris off the property.

Rebuilding the home for the Mckees is the first step, but overcoming the trauma of this arson could be a lifelong journey.

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