Members of the Williams Lake Fire Department work to contain a house fire Sunday that destroyed a home on Opal Street. (Ashley Marzoff photo)

Williams Lake family thankful for community support after fire destroys home Sunday

Two fundraisers are underway for Kyle Rowley and Becky Hatt

A young family in Williams Lake is coming to terms with losing all their possessions in a house fire on the weekend.

Becky Hatt was working at Deni House Sunday where she is a care aide when her partner, Kyle Rowley, called to tell her their home on Opal Street was on fire, and for her to come home.

Hatt said she could see the large plume of smoke rising from her house as she drove toward it.

“It was not a good feeling,” said Hatt, who was relieved by the fact that the couple’s two young children, ages two and four, were with their babysitter at the time.

Hatt said the couple stayed on scene for about two hours as firefighters fought the blaze.

The fire completely destroyed the home and its contents. The family’s two pets, a cat and a dog, were also lost in the blaze.

Two days later, Hatt said the loss is starting to hit home.

“Yesterday was a pretty bad day.”

The family is staying with relatives as they look for a new home to rent.

Read More: Opal Street home destroyed by fire Sunday

Meanwhile, two fundraisers have been launched for the family, who were renting the home but did not have any content insurance.

Family friend, Adam Duffy, immediately started collecting items and raising funds for the family which so far has seen four pickup truck loads of items collected and gift cards and cash donated from as far away as Fort St. John.

Additionally, a GoFundMe page has also been launched and has raised $1,370 to date with a goal of $5,000.

Hatt said she is grateful for all the support they have received and would like to thank everyone for the donations and assistance.

“We want to say thank you to everyone. Our community is very amazing.”

Williams Lake Fire Chief Erick Peterson said his department received the call for the Opal Street fire at 1:16 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 2 and a deputy fire chief was on scene within minutes where the home was fully engulfed with flames coming out both sides on the mobile home.

The biggest challenge for the crews responding was the extremely icy road conditions, due to melting and rain earlier in the weekend, which caused a water tender to slide 15 to 20 feet down the road, coming to rest a few doors down from the residence on fire.

Firefighters from the WLFD fought the fire with the help of the Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department, who were called in to assist because the home was located outside of the city limits, but within the Cariboo Regional District’s fire protection area, and required water tenders.

In all, three water tenders and three other fire trucks were used at the fire. The crews were still able to use the water tender that slid down the hill and got stuck, by using a Wildwood truck and multiple hoses to reach the fire.

“We had to work with what we had,” said Peterson,who also called in a sand truck to assist with the icy conditions. “We would like to thank the Wildwood fire department for their assistance, it’s greatly appreciated. Without them, the system wouldn’t work.”

Members of the Williams Lake RCMP and Emergency Health Services were also on hand during the emergency. Cause of the fire is still under investigation, however, Peterson said it appears to have started in the kitchen area.

As an Opal Street neighbour, Ashley Marzoff witnessed the fire and the response from crew.

“It was very, very shocking and a big loss for the poor neighbours,” said Marzoff. “But the firefighters were absolutely wonderful. We are very impressed. They worked so hard to fight the fire, they were here so fast and they were sliding all over the place because everything was a sheet of ice.”

As a representative for the family, Adam Duffy continues to accept donations for the family and also collect any leads on a new rental property for them. His contact number is 250-267-3224.

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A Williams Lake family is starting over after a fire on the weekend destroyed all their belongings and left the without a home. (Photo submitted)

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