B.C. Ambulance Service paramedics bring the Elder family’s youngest daughter to an ambulance to be checked over as Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews battle a house fire on Burma Road on Wednesday. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

B.C. Ambulance Service paramedics bring the Elder family’s youngest daughter to an ambulance to be checked over as Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews battle a house fire on Burma Road on Wednesday. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

Nanaimo family with four young daughters loses all their possessions in house fire

Cousin starts Gofundme for family who lived on Burma Road

A Nanaimo family with four young daughters isn’t sure where they’ll go next after the house they were renting was destroyed by fire.

Selina Schlief of West Kelowna has started a Gofundme for her cousins Ernest and Brettnee Elder and their children, who lost all their possessions in a house fire Wednesday on Burma Road and didn’t have tenants’ insurance.

story continues below

Brettnee was home with her daughters and was home-schooling the eldest, who is five years old. Brettnee had actually specifically shown her daughter the process of starting the fire that morning as a bit of a lesson.

Brettnee noticed the house got “kind of smoky,” so she double-checked the fireplace vent, opened some windows, and had just resumed her housework when she heard a crackling sound coming from the roof. She scrambled to get her kids out of the house – the baby was wearing only a diaper – called 911 and looked for the garden hose, which was attached to a trailer and not easily accessible.

By the time Nanaimo Fire Rescue arrived on scene, the house was fully engulfed in flame.

RELATED: Occupants safely out of burning house in north Nanaimo

Brettnee said her kids were good and didn’t panic in the emergency.

“I told them, it’s OK, God’s with us, it’s material stuff, we can get a new home, we can get new stuff. As long as we have our family, that’s our home, wherever we are together,’” she said.

Firefighters rescued one cat with singed whiskers and a dog that the family was pet-sitting is also safe, but two cats are still unaccounted for.

Brettnee said some of the possessions she’s most upset to lose are wedding photos and identification. Ernie lost “tons and tons and tons” of remote-control cars.

“A huge collection he had going; he’s really devastated, I’m like, ‘I’m sorry babe, we’ll get you new RCs,” she said.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue confirmed that the family did not have tenants’ insurance. Brettnee said she actually tried to get insurance, but wasn’t able to because the lease was in her mom’s name.

The Elder family may go to stay with family in the Okanagan, but Brettnee said they want to stay in Nanaimo long enough to get a chance to salvage what they can from the Burma Road house first. She said yesterday was “not a good day,” but she was keeping a positive perspective.

“I had a really rough upbringing, I was homeless a lot,” she said. “It’s a tragedy, but we’ll move on from it.”

For a link to the Gofundme page, click here.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bruce Whittington making a founding gift to the Ladysmith Community Foundation Fund, presented to then Nanaimo Foundation Board Chair, Ted Carson. (Submitted photo)
New Ladysmith Community Fund set up to support local charities

The fund will be managed by the Nanaimo Foundation and all funds will remain in Ladysmith

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

Greater Victoria had more new cases than any other Island area: B.C. Centre for Disease Control

‘For Sale’ signs quickly turned to ‘Sold’ signs as record-high demand for housing meets record-low inventory. (Cole Schisler photo)
Multiple offers and unconditional sales rampant in Ladysmith housing market

Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Zone 3 director Susan Perrey says the market is ‘crazy all around’

From left to right: Vicki Barta, Bruce Ormond, Greg Heide, Gord McInnis, and Charles Harman rehearse via zoom for the upcoming radio play, “Visitor from Planet Zoltan”. (Submitted photo)
Radio plays prove successful for Ladysmith Little Theatre, four more in production

Ladysmith Little Theatre pivoted to producing radio plays during the pandemic

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Two men filmed removing red dresses from trees in Oyster Bay

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Vancouver Island Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied
Island woman on fence about vaccine prompted by brother’s death

Leela Harrop of Comox says she did have issues with signing up online this past week

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Most Read