A couple who have lived in the Cowichan Valley for just a year lost all their possessions in a house fire on Feb. 6 and hope for assistance from the community.
Kristyn Moore, 35, and her partner Jonathan Lafleur, 40, along with their service dog Duke, walked away from the fire with just their cell phones and themselves, and didn’t even have the chance to retrieve a wallet and purse.
Moore said Lafleur moved to the Cowichan Valley from Montreal and loves Vancouver Island.
“We were in the home for a year almost to the day,” said Moore, of their home on Johnny Bear Road near the top of Gibbins Road. “It was a metal container tiny home that my partner owned. He started from the ground up with it working tirelessly on making it a home for us.”
The couple was living off the grid and their heating system was a propane heater and wood stove. The fire started in the bathroom however, with a propane hot water on-demand system.
It’s believed the fire started when some clothes got too close to the propane heater.
The couple didn’t have insurance.
“Once the fire reached the rest of the house, explosions where happening from all the propane bottles,” Moore explained. “It burned down on Sunday, Feb. 6 at around 1 p.m.,” she added. “I was in bed sleeping because we were up late working on the house the night before, and woke up to our service dog jumping on me, and the smell of smoke. I got out in time but was unable to grab anything other then my phone because the fire grew within minutes.”
Moore said Lafleur is a retired member of the Canadian Armed Forces who fought in Afghanistan and suffers from PTSD.
“Due to Jonathan’s condition, he chooses to live in the quiet country with wildlife and forests and was trying to live off the grid,” Cheryl Moore, Kristyn’s mom explained. “A GoFundMe page has been started but, due to the fact the couple don’t know many people in the area, it’s off to a slow start. They would love to build again and are hoping enough funds can be raised to do this.”
Family members in Nanoose have made room for the couple and their dog in their home for now, but Lafleur longs to be back in his quiet place.
The GoFundMe page can be found at https://gofund.me/22cc0e34