Losing battle: Firefighters (left) fought a house fire on Hilchey Road Sunday evening for nearly four hours in a futile attempt to save the home. Meanwhile

Community rallies support for fire victims

Fire broke out in a house in the 300 block of Hilchey Avenue shortly after 7 p.m.

  • Nov. 29, 2011 5:00 p.m.

A Campbell River family is left with nothing after fire devastated their home on Sunday.

Fire broke out in a house in the 300 block of Hilchey Avenue shortly after 7 p.m. No one was home when the fire broke out, as the family was out watching the Grey Cup football game.

According to Campbell River Fire Chief Dean Spry, two stations responded and about five fire trucks were on scene. It took crews until about 10:45 p.m. to put the fire out.

Spry said the extent of damage to the home is serious.

“The damage is going to be probably a total loss,” said Spry. “They’ll have to tear the building down.”

Jenn Manuel lives right across the road and saw the whole thing happen.

“It was pretty intense, I mean it was the biggest fire I’d ever seen,” said Manuel. The flames were “probably 80 feet in the air. It was wild.”

She said the father stopped by her house as the fire was still burning.

“He walked to my house (that) night, while the fire was still happening, and it was really sad,” said Manuel.

The man’s wife is pregnant and he has four daughters, aged seven months, two years, nine years and 14 years old. According to RCMP Sgt. Craig Massey, the family was renting the home and had no fire insurance.

The community instantly outpoured support for the family. Kathleen Stubbs, who doesn’t personally know the family, saw a video of the fire on online and started a Facebook group to organize donations while the fire was still burning.

“I know what it’s like to need the help, and so I just know that I wanted to help them,” said Stubbs.

The Facebook group is called Helping Out (Donations). Or people can call Stubbs at 250-202-7289 for more information.

Household items, like counter-top appliances, furniture, clothes and gently used toys are still needed.

A fundraiser will be held at The Vertical Gym on Sat., Dec. 17 from 6-9 p.m. The event features pole dance, zumba and burlesque body sculpt classes by donation, and there will be a silent auction with numerous items donated by local businesses. People can also donate items for a bake sale. Anyone interested in donating items for the fundraiser can call Robynne at The Vertical Gym at (250) 286-6670.

Also, a donation jar will be set up downtown this Friday at Starlight Shopping and many other fundraising ideas are in the works.

Although Massey said police received reports of a young man setting off fire works shortly before the fire started, he said these reports do not appear to be related to the fire. He said the fire is not suspicious in nature.

“At this juncture, we’re quite comfortable that the fire itself was caused from within the residence,” said Massey. “It looks like probably a situation in the home with a woodstove, perhaps with some combustibles.”