Dominique Matheson woke at around 3 a.m. Saturday morning (July 7) to go to the bathroom.
She is so thankful that she did because at the time the house, located on Northdown Road in Bowser, was already on fire.
“I wasn’t aware of it when I got up,” said Matheson. “I heard some crackling noise and I thought it was just the cat eating. Then I noticed the light flickering in the hall. I went to check it out, there was smoke coming out of the foyer. There was a little flame. It didn’t look (like) a lot but smoke was coming… My daughter Sarah’s room (was right above). I ran to her room and got her up. It was right underneath her.”
Matheson said she grabbed her phone and dialed 9-1-1 and instructed Sarah, 16, to get her sister Violet, 8, out of the house.
“I didn’t think the fire was that big,” Matheson recalled. “I didn’t know what was going on.”
Matheson said she grabbed the hose to try and douse the flames but when she went around the house, Matheson was shocked.
“It looked like an explosion almost on the wall,” said Matheson. “It was the whole wall and I realized there was nothing I could do. I dropped the hose and just ran. I grabbed the car.”
The Bow Horn Bay Volunteer Fire Department got the call and quickly dispatched fire crews to the scene. Fire chief Geoff MacIntosh said upon their arrival they saw the house already engulfed in flames.
“It has a metal roof and we were not able to get inside to fight the blaze,” said MacIntosh. “We had to do it outside the house. It took over two hours to get the fire under control.”
MacIntosh said the Deep Bay Volunteer Fire Department also came out to help. But there was no chance of saving the house.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated but MacIntosh said it could be faulty electrical wiring that started it. But they won’t know for sure until the investigation is completed.
Matheson and her two children are now homeless. They lost everything, and have no insurance. But they are still counting their blessings because they are all safe.
“I can’t imagine if I hadn’t woken up what would have happened,” said Matheson. “I can’t imagine it. It happened so fast. The fire was gone even before the fire deparment got there.”
Friends and families are rallying behind the Mathesons, helping them out in any way possible.
Sarah who had to go to a job interview Saturday is now staying with her grandmother who helped buy her clothes for the interview. Matheson and Violet will be staying at Matheson’s boyfriend’s place in Chemainus.
Matheson, who is a commercial fisherman, said she doesn’t have insurance on her home. She was on the verge of getting insurance, she said. The fire couldn’t have happened at a worse time as she doesn’t have a job as she couldn’t work due to an injury she suffered last year. She is also going to have surgery to address the injury in two weeks.
Emergency Social Services has provided Matheson with money to buy food and clothes but it’s only good for three days.
To help the Mathesons, friends and family have set up a GoFundMe account. The goal is raise around $250,000 to pay for clothing, food, medications and support while Matheson recovers from surgery.
Anyone wishing to help the Mathesons can go to their gofundme account at www.gofundme.com/single-mom-two-girls-no-insurance.
You can also email the Mathesons at email@example.com
Matheson wished to express her sincere thanks to the firefighters and to friends, families, neighbours and the community for helping them out.