An image submitted to the Chronicle by Natalie DeBenedictis shows the float home that was destroyed in a fire last week.

An image submitted to the Chronicle by Natalie DeBenedictis shows the float home that was destroyed in a fire last week.

Ladysmith residents aim to raise $5K for Dogpatch fire victim

Ladysmith residents are rallying behind a Dogpatch resident who was out last Tuesday night when a blaze gutted her float home.

Ladysmith residents are rallying behind a Dog Patch resident who was out last Tuesday night when a blaze gutted her float home in Ladysmith harbour.

The fire broke out shortly before 8 p.m. at the two storey wooden shingled dwelling docked in an area of the harbour just off Slag Point, near Transfer Beach.

Smoke was still billowing up in the sky from debris early Wednesday morning as a large piece of charred dock with a burned out stove sizzled on shore.

Nearby on the beach rested a steel boat that the woman was known to use to get to land, where residents often saw her cleaning up garbage.

Ladysmith Fire Chief Ray Delcourt said all 24 volunteer firefighters were on scene assisting until after midnight.

“By the time we got down there it was fully involved,” he said.

Firefighters joined the Canadian Coast Guard Station Ganges on its vessel but the efforts were no match for the fire.

Delcourt said the best they could do was to cool down areas where there was fuel.

“As far as our response, we just don’t have any capability to move water out there,” Delcourt said.  “If a vessel is burning out in the middle of the harbour we can’t go out and board that vessel….we have to make sure we’re safe out there.”

The community is now rallying around the woman who is being identified in a GoFundMe fundraising page as Traci: https://www.gofundme.com/please-support-traci-house-fire?ssid=904943232&pos=1.

Angela Dodge-Fredrickson created the page to help the woman “get back on her feet again.”

“She is not able to take in donated items due to no place to keep anything,” Dodge-Fredrickson wrote on Facebook. “What is hoped for at this time is to raise enough money for her to rebuild a small cottage or home. She is a very independent/determined woman.”

Monetary gifts or gift cards are also being accepted at Little Rascals Pets.

The Coast Guard and Ladysmith RCMP couldn’t be reached for comment on if they are investigating the cause of the fire.

Police were able to make contact with the woman at around midnight last Tuesday.  Her home is not insured.

Royal Canadian Marine Search & Rescue Station #29 Ladysmith was also on scene with its boat Community Spirit and assisted with transporting firefighters.

“I think that a fortunate thing was that the wind was blowing from the north and so the smoke was going toward the uninhabited part of the Slag Point,” said John Davis, president of the Ladysmith & District Marine Rescue Society.

“Bits of pieces of burning debris that broke off from the dock drifted in that direction instead of into other boats. There weren’t hazards to other vessels or to all the infrastructure of the community marina so that was good.”

Coast Guard officials were on scene last Wednesday morning after the fire assessing the harbour for any fuel sheen.

Several residents reported hearing explosions.

“There was the odd bit of bang or boom but that could have just been a bit of fuel set aside,” Delcourt said.