Neighbours and the wider community have rallied around a Linwood family left scrambling after a fire destroyed their home last week.
Residents almost immediately began collecting clothing and other items in the wake of the fire, also launching online funding efforts that quickly surpassed their goals.
The Isabella Street house went up in flames April 4, causing damage in excess of $500,000. The Myers family was uninjured, the adults having left for work and the kids already at school when the fire broke out.
“There were some Mornington Communications workers [Ryan Kipfer and Keagan Goetz] out framing the fibre to the village. They saw the smoke, they called it in. One of those workers went up and started banging on the door to see if anybody was in the house,” said Wellesley fire chief Paul Redman. “He’s the one that heard the dog barking – he kicked the door in, and the dog ran out.”
The family golden retriever, Gus, was given oxygen at the scene and was in good condition.
The fire, which spread quickly through the house, was battled by firefighters from all three Wellesley Township stations, as well as a Woolwich mutual aid tanker on standby. Redman said the blaze was likely started by an electrical device such as a tablet or computer charging on the couch.
“It was a really hot-burning fire. Just in a small time, it burnt the entire ceiling, it came off the wall – the couch was completely gone except for the springs,” said Redman. “It was a really, really intense fire. It did cause quite a bit of smoke damage to the house.”
In response, friends and neighbours have started a Facebook fundraiser page that has already far surpassed its original goal of $15,000. At press time, more than 250 people had pledged some $20,000 to help get the family back on its feet.
Alicia Antoinette Dekker, a friend and neighbour of the Myers family, helped to create the fundraiser. She said she was impressed with the community spirit.
“The support has been outstanding,” said Dekker. “People are dropping off clothes and other items as well. It’s pretty incredible.
“As myself and several other friends were standing in front of the house, we were racking our brains to figure out where to help, and where to start. Jocey McBeth mentioned a GoFundMe page, and we basically flew into gear from there.”
The victims are staying with family members for the time being. They have already received a sufficient amount of clothes that were donated by community members. The mother of the family affected, Carra Myers, thanked everyone for the support and shared her thoughts in a public Facebook post.
“Seeing everything you have worked so hard for completely destroyed is a feeling no one should ever feel. Walking through your home and seeing all of your children’s favourite things unsalvageable is devastating,” said Myers.
“But … as much as it’s hard to swallow at the time, those things are replaceable. Our house is replaceable. Our lives aren’t. With everything that happened yesterday, we are intact. Our crazy, chaotic family is displaced but together. Discouraged but ready. Ready to face what’s ahead with open minds and full hearts – the way we have faced all of the adversity in our lives thus far.”
The Facebook fundraiser will be open until the end of the month. It can be found at www.facebook.com/donate/388884248618764