The cause of the fire that incinerated an East Hill home on Thursday afternoon is not yet known, but Vernon Fire Rescue deputy Chief Scott Hemstad says the investigation is underway, having started Friday morning.
It turns out there were more residents of the home than was thought yesterday. In addition to a mother named Emma and her two children, there were two teen-aged boys aged 17 and 19 renting the basement whose possessions were destroyed.
A GoFundMe page for Emma and her children was created by Kelli Christine Thursday night, which has so far garnered $3,325 in donations out of its goal of $10,000.
In a Friday update, Christine said that Emma had decided to pay forward a portion of the donations to her former downstairs neighbours.
“Emma is so generously donating 20 per cent of the funds raised to the two renters that lived in the basement of the house that also lost all of their belongings,” Christine’s update said.
Just before 4 p.m., on Thursday, Sept. 26, Vernon firefighters were called to the home on 35th Avenue and 13th Street—across the street from Silver Star Elementary School—to respond to a structure fire.
Upon arrival, deputy fire Chief Hemstad said his crew found one home engulfed in flames and a neighbouring home was in danger of also catching. He said the fire had potential to spread to the second home but Vernon Fire Rescue acted quickly to defend the dwelling.
Nearly a dozen neighbours lined the sidewalks to watch the situation unfold, even after firefighters and the City of Vernon told the public to stay away from the area to make room for emergency personnel.
BC Hydro and Fortis BC crews cut utilities to the home around 4:30 p.m. Kalamalka Security and Restoration teams arrived on scene shortly before 5 p.m. to ensure the home was secured over night.
Today was an example of the dedicated work of our local firefighters and the expertise they have in responding to such calls,” fire Chief David Lind said. “Between the two homes is a large tree, which caught fire but crews were able to suppress the fire to save the second home.”