A Victoria couple is facing homelessness after a fire badly damaged their rented home. (Black Press Media file photo)

Victoria couple who lost their home to fire were community-minded volunteers, friend says

Cooking fire sent couple to hospital Monday evening

A friend of a Victoria couple who lost their home and belongings in a fire Monday night says the pair is facing homelessness after dedicating their lives to volunteer work.

Michael Wegner and Linda Banh were taken to hospital Monday evening after the home they rent in the 2000-block of Victor Street went up in flames. The Victoria Fire Department said the blaze was likely started by someone cooking with oil. The fire spread fast, badly damaging the home and nearly everything inside.

Banh was discharged from the hospital but Wegner remains hospitalized with burns.

The couple had nothing, said their friend Sonora Godfrey, partly because they put so much energy into their community.

RELATED: Two people taken to hospital after cooking oil fire ravages home

“I think both of them together, they are the kind of people who are just magnets for finding causes and then doing things about them,” Godfrey said. “That’s why I’m hoping the community can hopefully do the same thing back.”

Wegner, who Godfrey describes as a “volunteer fixture” at Beacon Community Services, runs the LoveWhereYouLive BC group with Banh. The unlisted Victoria organization runs various social responsibility and environmental campaigns in the region – one of the most recent and prominent, a cigarette butt cleanup effort.

Godfrey says the pair used their own savings for the costs of the organization and lived, essentially, month-to-month.

“They haven’t been piling away a hidden nest egg, they’ve been working social service jobs and living paycheque-to-paycheque,” she said. “They’re both incredibly passionate about helping others. Michael comes alive when he gets to run his events. He’s endlessly passionate about the environment and raising money for good causes and doing the right thing.”

Godfrey started a GoFundMe campaign on the pair’s behalf to help them get back on their feet.

“They gave everything they had to their community and I’m hoping the community can, sort of, give everything back. Every little bit helps.”

RELATED: Cash for butts program giving away $1,500 to Victoria cigarette butt-collectors



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

House firevolunteers

Just Posted

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal to hear blind community’s case against Victoria bus stops

The Canadian Federation of the Blind says bike lanes can be dangerous

Point-guard lobs no-look, three-pointer for Oak Bay High video

Trick-shot only took three times, says Oak Bay teen

Name of victims ‘ripped down’ from Victoria display

Organizers feel the act is ‘malicious’

EDITORIAL: It’s time for Canada to admit to its own racism

Make no mistake, racism exists in Canada.

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Kelowna Mountie on desk duty following ‘aggressive’ arrest

The officer involved in an arrest that took place on May 30 in Kelowna has been placed on administrative duties

Protests shift to memorializing George Floyd amid push for change

‘There is something better on the other side of this,’ says Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom

Limit gun capacity to five bullets, victims group urges Trudeau government

Current limits are generally five bullets for hunting rifles and shotguns and 10 for handguns.

COVID-19: Closed B.C. businesses allowed to sell liquor stock

Sales allowed to other licensees that can reopen

Trudeau to offer premiers billions to help reopen the economy safely

Making a difference in municipalities is a pricey proposition

Vancouver Island First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

Most Read