After a family escaped with just the clothes on their backs, Valerie Brimacombe is hoping the Comox Valley community can help them with everything from clothes, a vehicle or monetary donations after a fire ravaged their home in Oyster River.
Last week, Lyle Johnson, Kelly Bouzanne and their son Dylan, 14, awoke to the screams of six-year-old Bobbi in the middle of the night. Soon after, fire gutted their two-storey home at 2259 Fearon Rd.
The family, which does not have insurance, lost everything and escaped with only the clothes they were wearing, said Brimacombe, a cousin, who created an online fundraising page on YouCaring.com.
“It’s just so devastating. You hear about it every day but you don’t actually think it’ll happen to you,” she noted. “It’s very overwhelming.”
The intense heat of the fire, combined with wind, kept the main crew of volunteer firefighters on scene for three and a half hours, with others at the house until noon.
The fire was so strong, the front of Johnson’s pickup truck, which he uses to run Clean Sweep Chimneys, was melted.
The family, which is staying with neighbours, hopes to find a new home in the same neighbourhood, but Brimacombe says she hopes to get a shelter, such as a trailer or fifth wheel, from donations for the family to live in while they rebuild their lives.
“We want to try and keep some sense of normalcy for them. It’s very stressful, very overwhelming.”
The goal is $60,000, but Brimacombe added within the first 24 hours of the donation site going live, she has raised $1,220.
“It’s quite an amazing response. We even had one lady bring the family all new shoes,” she noted.
As of Monday, the site had collected nearly $3,000 and Brimacombe added for anyone wishing to make a donation of clothes or shoes, two locations — 2603B Tater Pl. in Courtenay or 2239 Fearon Rd. in Oyster River — are dropoff points for donations.
Additionally, Brimacombe says they are organizing a bottle drive to raise funds and will canvass various parts of the Valley for bottle donations.
For specific sizes of clothes and shoes for the family, or to make a financial donation, visit www.YouCaring.com and search for Lyle and Kelly.
— With a file from the Campbell River Mirror