Corinna Goddard isn’t sure what to do next.
Her family is homeless after a fire tore through their home early Tuesday morning. She managed to wake up her teenaged daughter, and they escaped without injury along with the family’s two cats. All the tenants in the multi-suited home wokeup in time to get out safely.
However, the home won’t be salvagable, and the Goddards do not have rental insurance. The main part of the house isdestroyed, and there is smoke damage in what’s left standing.
“We are at the Coast Hotel for three days and then basically we’re going to be homeless,” Goddard says.
The Chilliwack Fire Department has called the fire accidental.
Goddard was the first to wake up to the fire, and she tried to extinguish it. When that didn’t work, she went into “fullsurvival mode”, and woke everyone in the house up. Dale Phillips lives in the basement suite, and helped evacuate everyone.
“We were all yelling,” Goddard says. “You just had to think fast.”
They all managed to get out, but only with the pajamas on their backs and socks on their feet.
Phillips called 911 and kept people from returning into the house. He also tried to spray the fire with a yard hose. Duringthose attempts, he fell down the stairs and was injured. He says he also suffered smoke inhalation.
Phillips lives on a disability pension, with most of that going toward rent and services like cable and a cell phone. Tosupplement his income, he has a list of elderly and disabled people who give him their empties for the deposit. In return, hetakes their garbage and recycling to the street for them weekly.
“They call me the ‘Can Man,’” he said on Wednesday morning. “But right now, the Can Man can’t.”
He’s hoping a rental apartment under $800 will become available. If not, like Goddard, he’s not sure where he’ll end up.Goddard had lived in the rental for about eight years, and Phillips has lived there for seven years. He says they’ve becomelike family, looking out for each other.
After their alloted time is up at the hotel, paid for through the Red Cross, they will each have to find somewhere to live. Allof Goddard’s family lives on Vancouver Island.
The Chilliwack Fire Department says the fire broke out about 2:45 a.m. on Broadway near Brooks Ave. Everyone in the homewas taken to the emergency room and released into the care of Emergency Social Services later in the morning. Part of thesupport given to the family was a $750 gift card to Walmart, which needs to be spent in the next few days.
A friend of Goddard’s daughter has already created a GoFundMe account to help out, and teacher Steve Anderson atChilliwack secondary school is also helping collect funds for the family
Goddard isn’t sure what to do next. But she’s grateful everyone escaped alive and unhurt.
To help the victims of the fire get back on their feet, see the link to their GoFundMe Account. While the fund is set up through a friend of Goddard’s, she said she plans to share any donations with Phillips.