New home in works for Nanoose fire victims

Help to build a new home is rising from the ashes of a fire on the Nanoose First Nation (Snaw'Naw'As) reserve.

The fire that broke out the morning of Jan. 25 claimed the lives of two boys and destroyed the home of the family with whom they were staying. The family was uninsured amd is now in need of a new home.

Ken Brownsell, who compiles contractors' building supply orders at Slegg Lumber, thought he might be able to help out through his contacts in the industry.

Brownsell started calling contractors and suppliers in various building trades to see who could pitch in donations of supplies and labour to help build a new house.

"I just thought somebody needed a hand and I was in a position maybe to give them a little bit of a hand," Brownsell said. "It just kind of snowballed from there."

So far, an excavation company and a concrete form supplier have confirmed they will dig the hole and donate forms for a foundation, a construction company has offered to manage the project, a roofing company is chipping in its labour and an insulation company has offered its labour to insulate the home.

"I don't have insulation donated yet, but I'm working on that," Brownsell said.

Slegg Lumber supplied some of the materials when homes were built on the reserve several years ago.

"So I know some of the people out there, some of the band members and the contractors that worked out there before," Brownsell said.

Brownsell said he is still at least a week away from knowing the total labour and supplies that will be donated to the project, but it will ultimately be up to the band council to decide when construction will start.

"We are co-ordinating several initiatives right now," said Brent Edwards, band manager, in an e-mail to the News Bulletin. "We are not in a position to comment on these initiatives until later this week as it takes a lot of co-ordination to ensure we are all working together.

"The outpouring of support and generosity from the community has been overwhelming."

Brownsell said he especially needs to hear from businesses and individuals that can supply products Slegg Lumber does not handle, such as kitchen cabinetry and exterior siding.

"Hopefully I'll get commitments from everybody for what we need and then we'll be in contact with the First Nation as to what home they're going to build," Brownsell said. "We've got plans that have been built there before, so it will probably be something similar to what's been put on site before."

To find out more about the project or to make a donation, please call Brownsell at 250-758-8329.

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