This was the scene Sunday evening as firefighting crews from Central Saanich, North Saanich and Sidney battled a house fire on Skyline Crescent in Central Saanich. A GoFundMe campaign is now underway to help the family. (Central Saanich Fire/Twitter)

Community rallies around Island family displaced by Sunday fire

COVID-19 outbreak impacts what kind of donations can be accepted

A friend of the Central Saanich family whose house suffered extensive fire damage says the family lost almost everything in the blaze and the situation is complicated by COVID-19.

Leanna Young, organizer of a GoFundMe campaign for the family, said Sunday’s fire destroyed “most everything this family owed” as they try to deal with the aftermath.

“They are now displaced and having to piece their lives back together,” she said. “As you can imagine, this is tragic at the best of times, but even more so during this global COVID-19 crisis.”

Young described the Alock family as a “lovely” and “community-minded, kind and a generous family who would help others in a heartbeat” in asking the public for cash donations to help the family get a new place to live, clothes, toiletries and other essentials.

“Please note that given the COVID-19 crisis and social distancing, donations of physical items can not be accepted,” she said.

RELATED: Sunday fire causes extensive damage to Central Saanich home

The response, so far, certainly appears impressive. As of Monday afternoon, the campaign had raised $10,814, more than double its goal.

The family of four – one child attends Bayside Middle School and the other Stelly’s Secondary – spent Sunday night in a hotel after three of them escaped the fire without injuries. The fourth member of the family was at work when the blaze broke out.

Central Saanich Fire Chief Chris Vrabel said Monday morning the cause of the fast-spreading fire remains under investigation, but available evidence points to an accidental cause. Vrabel added that he could not estimate the monetary damage to the house at this stage.

“I can say there is significant damage to the roof of the home, and significant water damage as well,” he said.

Vrabel said crews responded to the quickly-spreading fire just before 7 p.m. Sunday.

“It [the residence] was well involved,” he said. “It was already showing through the roof of the structure when the first two fire trucks pulled up,” he said. Once fire gets into the roof, it becomes difficult to fight, he explained, adding it was complicated by strong winds.

A total of 27 firefighters from all three departments on the Saanich Peninsula responded to the fire, with five coming from North Saanich, four from Sidney, and the balance from Central Saanich, said Vrabel.

“We had an excellent turnout from all three departments,” said Vrabel, when asked about the effects of COVID-19 on the response rate, as members were practising social distancing with their families.


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