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Former Vernon woman escapes house fire with cat

Debbra Cooper lost everything in the Edgewood blaze

Help is being sought for a former Vernon resident who lost her home to a fire just before Christmas.

Well-known seamstress Debbra Cooper, who owned Dragons Den Fashions, lived in the area for more than 25 years.

You may have seen her at Hi-Pro Sportswear or a couple convenience stores she worked at as well as selling her crafts and baked goods at Vernon and Kelowna farmers’ markets and Creative Chaos.

Cooper, who retired in 2020, moved to Lakewood, and then just in September to Edgewood.

But on Dec. 22, at 2 a.m., a fire destroyed her home. She was home and managed to escape the blaze, with her cat, out her bedroom window.

“She lost absolutely everything,” daughter Mandi Cooper said. “She is now out of a home and vehicle.”

Mandi, who was born and raised in Vernon but now lives in Alberta, has started a GoFundMe account to help her mom.

Her mom, who is 66, had just started to settle into her new rental home in Edgewood.

Now she is a motel near Edgewood, with Red Cross and B.C. Emergency Services helping out.

“But that will run out soon,” said Mandi. “I am asking for any help, we will need to get her back on her feet, new place, new car, everything as she had no renters insurance.”

She’s the type of person, that regardless of how little she has, if someone needed help she would never hesitate to give what she could, her son explains.

“At the same hand, she’s not one to ask for help,” he said, on the fundraising page at

“What’s upsetting is she was just getting settled into a new life when this happened. She spent hours making that place her new home.”

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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

20-year-Morning Star veteran
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