The family that lost their home in a three-alarm fire in Merrimac Sunday were cofounders of the SouFest Christian music festival.

Heavy fire and smoke brought firefighters from over a dozen communities to the fire on Skunk Road at around 2:15 p.m. in the 90+ heat and humidity, according to Merrimac Fire Chief Larry S. Fisher. The home is expected to be a total loss.

A GoFundMe reported the house belongs to Allison Russell, the Vice President and CFO of SoulFest, which had wrapped up this year's concert at the Gunstock Mountain Resort the day before. Allison and her nephew Gabe Dawber made it out of the house, but lost their cat Snow White.

According to the Daily Voice, Allison was napping when the fire started, and had moments to get out of the house.

Fire at a house on Skunk Lane in Merrimac 8/7/22
Fire at a house on Skunk Lane in Merrimac 8/7/22 (Newburyport Fire Department)

The fund, created by the NSC staff of Merrimac, has a goal of $100,000 to help her and the family with basic needs and temporary housing while insurance is getting sorted out.

Allison recently retired and has Parkinson's Disease, according to the page. The SoulFest website said that her husband Dan suffered a stroke in 2020.

Son Jesse, a professional musician and engineer, lost most of his collection of instruments in the fire.  Priceless mementos from his family's long career in the music industry were also lost.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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