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Fundraiser underway for daughter of North Dakota couple killed in fire

Two bodies were discovered in the house, and the structure was completely destroyed, according to the Lisbon Fire Department.

Left to right father Jon Person, 44, daughter Brooklyn Person, 21, and mother Courtney Person. Jon and Courtney died in a house fire on Nov. 18..jpg
Left to right, father Jon Person, 44, daughter Brooklyn Person, 21, and mother Courtney Person. Jon and Courtney died in a house fire on Nov. 18, 2022, in Lisbon, North Dakota.
Special to The Forum
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LISBON, N.D. — James Person doesn’t yet know how the fire that killed his younger brother and sister-in-law started, but the loss feels like an ongoing nightmare.

“It’s quite a shock. It’s one of those things that doesn’t seem real, like I will wake up from it,” Person said.

The fire occurred the night of Nov. 18 at his brother and sister-in-law's house at 18 Oak St. in Lisbon, a Ransom County town about 75 miles southwest of Fargo.

Two bodies were discovered in the house, and the structure was completely destroyed, according to the Lisbon Fire Department .

While authorities have yet to officially reveal the names of the victims, James Person set up a GoFundMe webpage for the surviving daughter of his 44-year-old brother, Jon, and his wife Courtney, who both died in the fire, he said.

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lisbon fire.jpg
Two people died in a fire at this house in Lisbon, North Dakota, on Nov. 18, 2022.
Photo via Lisbon Fire Department

All the donations from the GoFundMe campaign will go to Jon and Courtney Person’s 21-year-old daughter, Brooklyn, who lives in Michigan, James Person said.

James Person first heard news of the tragedy after Brooklyn called him early Nov. 19, he said. A North Dakota Highway Patrol trooper located Brooklyn in Michigan and told her the news, he said.

“They were good people. They raised their daughter well,” James Person said. “Brooklyn is working on a ranch in Michigan, working with horses. She grew up quite a bit in Lisbon and her mother was like that, too. They were really into horses and animals all around. She is doing what she loves.”

James Person said he and his siblings grew up near Lisbon. He remembered being “country boys,” riding bikes, with his younger brother and sister trying to keep up, swimming in a nearby stream and playing in the mud, he said.

Some members of the Person family moved to the Fargo-Moorhead area, but Jon and Courtney Person later returned to Lisbon and bought the house that burned down, James Person said.

Jon Person worked at a tractor company in electrical maintenance until about a year ago, James Person said.

As a couple, Jon and Courtney Person enjoyed traveling and going to concerts.

Additional tragedy, however, struck twice in the past three years with the loss of Jon and James Person's father in 2019 and their mother earlier this year.

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“We had a couple rough years,” James Person said.

James Person never started a GoFundMe page before, but he received “a lot of requests from people who asked to donate,” he said, so he decided to start a fundraising effort.

"We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support in the last few days and are incredibly grateful for everything. We have lost two people that were very dear to not just everyone in our family, but also many friends they have made throughout the short time they were with us," James Person wrote on the GoFundMe page.

"We rejoice in the time we had and mourn the time we've lost," James Person wrote. "I am setting this up to help their daughter, Brooklyn, navigate the coming days, weeks, and frankly, years of dealing with this tragedy."

Within a week after setting up the GoFundMe page, he had already raised more than $7,500 out of a $10,000 goal.

“All of the money will go to her, to help with everything. I will pay for the funerals out of my own pocket, my piece to give towards it, and everything else will go to her future,” James Person said.

Funeral arrangements are unknown at this point. The investigation into the fire is ongoing.

Related Topics: FIRESNORTH DAKOTA
C.S. Hagen is an award-winning journalist currently covering the education and activist beats mainly in North Dakota and Minnesota.
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