The community is rallying around a Kulleet Bay couple who lost pretty much everything when fire destroyed the family home late Sunday morning.
The 4263 Deer Point Road home of John and Nancy Vincent — originally the home of John’s mother — was gutted along with two vans after the blaze broke out while John was home with his teenage grandson.
According to his son Josh, John was in the home’s downstairs bathroom when smoke started creeping under the door frame. John’s grandson, Graham, was upstairs when he heard the smoke detector go off.
Graham called 911 and each managed to escape the house safely to await the fire trucks.
North Oyster fire chief Jason De Jong said the call came in at about 11:30 a.m. He had firefighters on scene to the remote property within 10 minutes, but by that time all they could do was keep the blaze controlled.
“When we got there flames were coming out the side of the building, first and second floor,” he said. “The hydro line into the building dropped onto the driveway and made it difficult to get at that side. It was arcing and dancing on the ground.”
One van was parked in the carport for an oil change. The second was right at the front door. Both were damaged enough by the flames to be considered write-offs.
Josh said his dad, who is in his 60s, works for the Stz’uminus band as a drug and alcohol counsellor and has also served as a Stz’uminus band councillor.
He and Nancy were the home’s only full-time residents, but the place also frequently served as a second home to their many grandchildren and a gathering place for the extended family.
The couple has been given temporary accommodation through the CVRD’s emergency social services program. CVRD emergency program co-ordinator Sybille Sanderson said the CVRD is working with the band to co-ordinate further relief efforts
Josh said the couple will need a lot of help to get them back on their feet. He has started a fundraising drive on gofundme to do exactly that.
“Everyone knows who (my dad) is and he helps everybody,” he told The Chronicle, adding the fund had generated $135 in its first two days.
“We ask for anyone who can help John and Nancy Vincent try to rebuild their lives after this tragic event to please donate whatever they are able to and show support.”
Two trucks from North Oyster and a third from Ladysmith attended the blaze, which kept crews occupied for five hours.
De Jong said the department is investigating the possibility of a faulty woodstove being the cause.