Janine and Bob Taverner, with their daughter five-year-old daughter Georgia. (GoFundMe/Submitted)

Sidney family who fled burning home remain ‘shaken’

Family of three with a five-year-old girl face an uncertain future after Saturday afternoon fire

A close friend of the Sidney family, whose home suffered extensive damage in a fire Saturday, said they remain “pretty shaken” as they try to deal with the aftermath of the fire.

“It’s a pretty emotional time for everybody,” said Sheri Swan, organizer one of the two GoFundMe pages for Janine and Bob Taverner, who lived with their five-year-old daughter Georgia in a rented bungalow on Beacon Avenue West until a fire caused severe damage to it. “It makes you hold your kid a little tighter and appreciate everything that you have.”

Janine and Georgia Taverner fled their house Saturday afternoon after seeing flames and smoke come out of the garage following a loud bang. Bob Taverner joined them moments later, having left the house earlier to run an errand.

While firefighters from three area departments helped to douse the fire in some 20 minutes, pretty much everything inside the rented home that did not burn, suffered smoke or water damage. Swan said local emergency support services supplied with the family with the necessities of life, including clothing, food and shelter, with the family currently staying at a local hotel. In fact, emergency services extended their support for the family for another 72 hours with Friday being their last day.

RELATED: Saanich Peninsula rallies around Sidney family with young daughter after fire

Swan said it is not clear yet what the family will do after that. Bob, for his part, has returned to work as a long-haul trucker, having left Monday for Alberta.

As for Georgia, Swan said she is holding up well given the circumstances, and has returned to classes at Sidney elementary school.

“They tried to keep everything as normal as possible,” said Swan of her friends, whom she met through their respective child attending the same day care.

“The fact that something like this happened to one of my closest friends is pretty heart-breaking,” said Swan who finds comfort in the community’s response to the fire. As of Wednesday afternoon, Swan’s GoFundMe has raised more than $8,300 towards its $10,000 goal and the call for donations of various items yielded mountains. In fact, they have received more than enough clothing, footwear, toys and books for all of them.

“It’s amazing how fast a community can respond and the outpouring of support is overwhelming,” said Swan. Those wanting to donate furniture can contact Swan through GoFundMe and include a picture of the item.

RELATED: Fire official describes Sidney fire as ‘accidental’

Mike Harman, deputy chief with the Sidney Volunteer Fire Department, said Wednesday morning the cause of the fire remains accidental.


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