GoFundMe campaigns for two sets of tenants displaced by Thursday’s house fire in Vernon continue to grow.
The fire, in the 1300 block of 35th Avenue, destroyed the home occupied upstairs by a woman identified as Emma and her two children who attend Silver Star Elementary School, located directly across the road from the home.
Two teenaged brothers, 18 and 17, were living in the basement. They are not related to the woman upstairs. Everyone associated with the house got out safely from the fire.
In a tremendous move of compassion, Emma is donating 20 per cent of the funds raised for her and her kids to the two brothers.
The woman and her kids moved to Vernon five years ago and, as campaign organizer Kelli Christine wrote, “they are now without a home and everything that Emma had built for her and her children.”
The boys, as well, lost everything and are starting from scratch.
“They are both wonderful, talented boys, working hard on their own,” said campaign organizer Nicole Gough. “They will need assistance with everything from toothpaste, to socks and underwear, outerwear, clothes, shoes, towels, dishes, other household items, groceries and furniture. These are two good kids in need of community support.”
The brothers are also talented musicians, and people have been trying to find replacement instruments for the electric bass guitar, tenor saxophone and electric keyboard that went up in smoke.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. It began just before 4 p.m. Thursday, and Vernon Fire Rescue Services crews, numbering nearly two dozen, helped keep the blaze from spreading to a neighbouring house.
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 overnight.