Community lends a hand after fire

Fundraiser to aid fire victim’s widow

A neighbour to the man who died in a fire on Jan. 12 at Peach Cliff Estates Mobile Home Park in Okanagan Falls has established a GoFundMe account to raise money for the man’s widow.                                 Photo courtesy of Skylar Noe-vack

A neighbour to the man who died in a fire on Jan. 12 at Peach Cliff Estates Mobile Home Park in Okanagan Falls has established a GoFundMe account to raise money for the man’s widow. Photo courtesy of Skylar Noe-vack

An Okanagan Falls neighbourhood is reaching out after a man died in a fire that destroyed a mobile home in the small community last week.

Okanagan Falls firefighters were called to the Peach Cliff Estates Mobile Home Park on the afternoon of Jan. 11. It took until 6 p.m. until the fire was contained. Inside though, one of the homeowners, a man in his 70s, had perished.

Related: B.C. Coroner confirms fatality in mobile home fire

Neighbour Sue Cridland has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help out the man’s wife.

“Joan was not home at the time,” wrote Cridland on the GoFundMe page. “When she arrived home all she was left with was the clothes she was wearing. She lost everything she owns in the fire.”

Cridland hopes to gather $1,500 to help her neighbour at least replace her wardrobe.

“She needs clothes, coats, boots, shoes, all personal items,” wrote Cridland, adding that it will take some time before insurance kicks in, and her neighbour needs help immediately. “Lets please band together and help this lady, every little bit helps.”

The Levesques, who live across the street are praising the response of the volunteer firefighters. It seemed like an eternity for the first fire truck to arrive, they wrote in a letter to the editor, but in reality, the truck was there soon.

“It was snowing, it was growing dark, the flames had engulfed the deck. A second fire truck from Kaleden arrived on scene and together they worked as one, trying in vain to save the man trapped inside the house,” the Levesques wrote.

“We watched as one firefighter checked an oxygen tank which was attached to another’s back to ensure it was hooked up properly, while he was on all fours in the dirty, cold snow and water. And then they traded places and repeated the process. We saw a lot more which will forever affect us and give us a new appreciation for these particular volunteers.”

Cridland’s fundraiser can be found on Gofundme at https://www.gofundme.com/96kr5-joans-emergency-fund.