Family receives support after fire

   - Photo submitted
— image credit: Photo submitted

A Chilcotin family has received an outpouring of support after their home was destroyed by fire early Saturday.

Everyone escaped safely but the family has lost everything except for a box of family photographs.

Danielle Casavant, her husband Jeff, their children Bowdy and Genelle, lived across the highway from the Lee’s Corner Restaurant on Highway 20 west of Williams Lake.

From the restaurant Wednesday, Casavant said she was in shock, blown away and overwhelmed by the community support the family has received.

“The RCMP pulled major strings to help us get our ID back, they put us up in a hotel in Williams Lake for four days,” she said. “We got a $1,000 voucher for Walmart so we’ve bought a few things for the kids.”

Casavant also said so many people were “throwing cheques” their way that an account was opened for them at Scotia Bank in Williams Lake.

Their home was not insured. When the couple bought it they were told it could not be insured because it did not have a cement foundation and had too much acreage, Casavant explained.

The fire started early Saturday around 3:50 a.m. while everyone was sleeping.

“I had got up about 50 minutes before that because my daughter wanted a drink of water,” Casavant said.

A few moments after she had fallen back to sleep, Casavant woke up because she heard a crackling sound and thought it was “bizarre.”

“We did heat our house with a wood stove, and I thought it didn’t sound right. It was a combustion type of noise.”

When she checked the fireplace nothing was amiss, but when she looked up she could see “red hot” in between the air spaces in the ceiling and more “red hot” inside a new electrical outlet.

“I stood there and screamed fire,” she said. “Then I woke everybody up, grabbed the kids and put them in our vehicle.”

Jeff and a family friend who had stayed the night immediately tried to fight the fire with extinguishers and water, but it was impossible.

Casavant said they grabbed a few things and headed outside where they began to pull things away from outside of the house.

“Our folks own Lee’s Corner Restaurant so we came over here and basically watched the house burn down,” Casavant said. “It was gone in about 15 minutes.”

Grateful they all escaped safe and alive, Casavant said it’s been like a roller coaster.

“I’m shocked, it’s hard,” she said, fighting back tears. “We will have to pick up the pieces and make a new home.”

The family had lived in the house for five years, owned it for two and recently renovated the kitchen.

“We were trying to make an old house comfortable, new and nice, but it just didn’t work out.”

She said she believes it was an electrical fire in the ceiling. For now they are staying with Jeff’s parents at Lee’s Corner.


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