On their 20th anniversary Thursday, Sheryl Wales noted her husband Andrew didn’t have his wedding ring.
His ring, along with all of the couple’s possessions and their daughter’s, were lost in a fire that destroyed the family’s Comox home Monday.
“Our whole life was in that house,” said Wales. “We don’t have a home. We have nothing; we’re relying on the kindness of strangers. The outpouring has been amazing.”
Along with losing clothes, possessions, furniture and keepsakes, the family also lost some of their pets — their 13-year-old dog Sally and three ferrets.
Wales said there is nothing left of their home in which the military family lived in for four years. She said the combination of a wood house and a metal roof “basically created an oven.”
The fire, which began in the morning, was still burning when Wales and her husband returned to the site around 7 p.m.
“We literally have the clothes on our back,” she added.
With an extension from Emergency Services, the family has been able to stay a few extra days in a hotel, but with no plans for shelter after 72 hours, Wales noted employees of Applebees (where she is a regular) and the Holiday Inn Express in Courtenay offered a room for the family to stay for a few days.
She has been in constant contact with her adjuster from their insurance agency who said she could provide an advance of $3,000, but would have to be mailed as a cheque. Wales questions how it could arrive at their destroyed home.
Along with military support, Wales said her co-workers at Labour Unlimited have come together and spearheaded donations and dropoff locations for clothes and other necessities.
She noted the kindness of strangers has been unbelievable, as she has received a phone call from a man who showed up with a bag of clothes at their hotel, and a donation of furniture and a gift certificate from Fabricland.
Wales described the past week as nothing short of surreal.
“It’s truly mind-boggling. It’s Day Three and it feels like it’s been weeks. We’re going through the motions because we have to,” she said.
A fund has been set up through TD Canada Trust in Comox for the family, along with dropoff stations at Dairy Queen and Labour Unlimited at 1935 Cliffe Ave. To make a monetary donation at TD, use branch 93140, institution number 004, and account number 6020874.