No cause has been determined yet for a fire that claimed an East Hill home in Vernon last Thursday. But Vernon Fire and Rescue (VFR) are still investigating. There is no estimation as to when the investigation will wrap up.
A woman and her two children were able to get out of the 35th Avenue home safely on Sept. 26, just before 4 p.m. after it ignited. The house, across the street from Silver Star Elementary School, was deemed a “total loss” by VFR deputy Chief Scott Hemstad.
Two teen brothers were residing in the basement. They were not home at the time.
City of Vernon communications manager Christy Poirier said damages are estimated at approximately $500,000.
“This would be for the home and contents,” she said in an email, noting the estimate is a rough one.
Firefighters worked quickly to prevent the fire from spreading to a neighbouring home, but it wasn’t left unscathed. Damage was done to the siding, roof and an air conditioning unit.
“When more crews arrived, they applied more water to the main structure fire,” Hemstad said.
“(Thursday) was an example of the dedicated work of our local firefighters and the expertise they have in responding to such calls,” VFR Chief David Lind said.
A GoFundMe campaign was initiated Thursday night and has since garnered more than $7,100 of its $10,000 goal.
“Emma is so generously donating 20 per cent of the funds raised to the two renters that lived in the basement of the house that also lost all of their belongings,” organizer Kelli Christine said.
Six-hundred dollars was donated to the single mother and her children—$300 from House of Dwarfs Daycare and $300 matched by Vernon Teach and Learn. The generous donation was made to fund a toy shopping spree so the family can replace the children’s toys that went up in flames.
“I know that children need to have personal items around them in order to calm themselves if they need to occupy themselves, take their mind off of what’s happened,” House of Dwarfs Daycare director Sherry Lynn Morrical said following the donation.
A local artist and acquaintance of the single mother decided to auction off 14 of her paintings to raise money in support of the family as well.