The community is rallying behind the Patterson/Roberts family, who lost much of their possessions to a fire at their Malahat home on Christmas Day. (Contributed photo).

Community rallies behind Malahat family

A fire ripped through the Patterson’s home on Christmas

On Christmas Day instead of opening presents and spending time with loved ones, Bill Patterson and his family watched as their house went up in flames.

On Dec. 25 around 9 a.m., Patterson and his wife, Sali Roberts were using their wood burning stove to keep their Malahat house warm after a snowfall, when they heard a noise on the roof and went to investigate. To Patterson’s horror, he saw smoke coming from the chimney.

The family had enough time to grab their two dogs and two cats, and a few possessions before they were able to escape. For six painstaking hours, Patterson watched helplessly as firefighters attempted to extinguish the blaze that was consuming his home.

Because of the construction and shape of the house, crews eventually had to tear off the roof with an excavator before they could put out the fire.

“You feel pretty numb. You hope they can put it out and at the beginning it looked like such a small fire and then it just kept spreading and you slowly start to realize it’s not going well. You don’t really know what to think,” said the 62-year-old, who had been living in the home since 1986. “We’re still wrapping our heads around it. It will take a while for it to sink in, but we all got out alive and really that’s the biggest concern.”

The cause is still under investigation.

Since the fire, the family has been staying at a motel. Wanting to help, Nicole Gibson, a friend of their daughter’s, sprang into action. She set up an online fundraising campaign on Boxing Day to raise much-needed funds for the Patterson’s. In a little over a week, the campaign has raised $7,600 of its $10,000 goal, which will be used to help the family with day-to-day necessities.

The family also has a small hobby farm of chickens and llamas, and while it was untouched by the fire, has no access to running water or electricity as the power to the property has been shut off for safety reasons. Donations, such as a pump for water that can function without electricity, are also welcome.

“We’ve been really touched by the kindness of people, it’s been quite heartwarming. It means a huge amount to our family…. it takes a huge amount of pressure off knowing you don’t have to worry where the funds are going to come from if you need to get something now,” said Patterson, adding after the fire he was able to salvage little things such as a cutting board, batteries, and oddly enough, the Christmas tree and a few ornaments.

“It’s really good knowing there’s that kind of kindness and support out there. It really gives us faith in human kind.”

Up next, Patterson hopes to spruce up an old RV trailer that the family can live in temporarily on the site. Then they’ll start to rebuild – a process they anticipate will take a few years to complete.

For more information on the campaign visit gofundme.com/help-the-patterson-roberts-family.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

kendra.wong@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Snowboarder dies at Mount Washington

A male snowboarder found unresponsive in a treed area on Mount Washington… Continue reading

Sirens don’t sing in tsunami warning for Esquimalt

Officials pleased with process, say sirens would have been activated had threat escalated.

UPDATE: Tsunami warning cancelled for coastal British Columbia

Warning issued following 7.9 earthquake off Kodiak, AK

Hometown Hockey visits the home of the Big Stick

Cowichan hosts Rogers broadcast and accompanying festival

Tsunami warnings 101: Canada

Here are some things to know about tsunami alerts in Canada and how they work

Two kilometres of copper wire stolen south of Nanaimo

Underground electrical wire being stolen from B.C. Hydro manholes since November

Campbell River’s Teal Harle makes the Canadian Olympic Team

It was the ultimate and decisive event for the slopestyle athletes last… Continue reading

Andrew Scheer on trade, Trump and Trudeau

Canada’s Conservative leader begins three-day visit to B.C.

Victims restrained, sex toys and cash stolen from B.C. adult store

Armed suspects sought in adult store robbery

Vic-Alert faces tidal wave of registration after tsunami warnings

City of Victoria system is free and provides early warnings of disaster

Babcock, Goyette and Smyth honoured at Order of Hockey in Canada

Mike Babcock, from Saskatoon, guided the Detroit Red Wings to a Stanley Cup in 2008

Bell Canada alert prompts RCMP, privacy watchdog to probe data breach

Company spokesman: ‘Fewer than 100,000 customers were affected’

‘The tsunami alarm failed my household’: North Coast residents concerned over sirens, alerts

People living in northern communities share how they learned about Tuesday’s tsunami warning

Most Read