Chilliwack family that lost home in fire 'overwhelmed' by outpouring of support
Published Friday, July 13, 2018 7:23PM PDT
A Chilliwack, B.C. family says it has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support since a massive fire destroyed their home earlier this week.
Rachel Murrell and Graeme Rooney woke up to a neighbour banging on the door of their Safflower Crescent home at around 3 a.m. on Wednesday.
"Without them, without that, I don't even know what could've happened," Rooney told CTV News Friday.
"In our room, there was no light from (the fire) because the windows were all facing the street and there was no sound. It was just a quiet night and there was no smoke."
The couple's two children, aged nine and 11, one of the children's friends who was sleeping over and three pets were also inside the home at the time. Thankfully, they were all able to make it out safely.
When they got downstairs, Murrell saw the flames out back.
"When I turned to the left and looked out the living room window… it was all completely orange. The inside of the house was lit like a floodlight," she said, adding that they could see the fire spreading minutes after they got out.
Three vehicles' gas tanks exploded, levelling three homes and two garages. Luckily, no one was injured, but the fire left three families without homes, including a family of four living next door and the couple living in a carriage house at the back of the property who woke up Murrell and Rooney.
A mother and son who were living downstairs were also forced out of their home and are still looking for a rental suite.
Murrell and Rooney, however, said they're thankful for the friends and even strangers who quickly stepped in to help.
"That's what's been the most amazing is just everyone was just immediately there and willing to do anything—people we knew and people we didn't know," Murrell said. "It's overwhelming—very overwhelming to think about."
The family has been able to find rental housing and a GoFundMe page was created on their behalf. As of Friday afternoon, the campaign had raised more than $3,800 of its $30,000 goal.
"They are devastated. They don't know what is salvageable at this time. Their renters insurance had expired and they hadn't re-established it yet," the page's creator, Yanika Tytherleigh, wrote. "They have no insurance that will cover any of this massive loss."
The RCMP's Serious Crime Unit is investigating the fast-spreading fire, but hasn't deemed it suspicious.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Maria Weisgarber