The Thornhill Fire Department responded to the call from the family at 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15 on Tsunyow Street in Gitaus. (Screenshot)

The Thornhill Fire Department responded to the call from the family at 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15 on Tsunyow Street in Gitaus. (Screenshot)

Fire damages Terrace family’s home 10 days before Christmas

Family is safe, though fire killed two pets early Sunday morning

  • Dec. 16, 2019 3:00 p.m.

A Gitaus family is hoping for a Christmas miracle after their home and most of their belongings were damaged in a fire that also claimed the lives of two of their pets.

The Seymour family woke up just after midnight on Saturday, Dec. 14, to find their Tsunyow Street home on fire. They made a lucky escape, but two of their pets didn’t make it out, their newly arrived kitten Lulu and their hamster, Hamlet.

Lulu was a birthday gift for the family’s daughter who celebrated her 13th birthday on Sunday.

Mom Danielle Seymour’s sister Chrystal, speaking on behalf on the family, said with ten days left until Christmas the family needed the community’s help more than ever.

She said along with the death of their two pets, the Seymours also lost most of their belongings in the fire.

“Everything is still fresh and the shock is still there. We’re just trying to stick together so we can get through this one day at a time,” Chrystal says. “They’re devastated, but they’re hanging in there.”

This is the second time the Seymour family has experienced a house fire in the last year – in April Chrystal’s other sister Leanne Woods’ house caught fire in Gitaus and most of their family’s belongings were damaged by smoke. The house had to be renovated before the family could move back in.

READ MORE: Family of five safe after early morning house fire in Gitaus

“This is twice now this year in my family. It’s very hard. It’s devastating right now,” she says.

Apart from dad Frank Hogue, who was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, the rest of the family escaped without injury.

Thornhill Fire Department deputy fire chief Christopher England said the fire department responded to a call from the family at 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15. Three fire engines, including a ladder and duty vehicle, were sent to fight the blaze.

He said when the crews arrived they could see the windows in one of the three daughter’s bedrooms were blackened with smoke, with more smoke billowing out the top of the building.

READ MORE: Two people safe following house fire in Upper Thornhill

“The family is alright. At least one of the family members was treated for smoke inhalation and two pets didn’t make it. The dogs made it, but the cat and the hamster were unfortunate victims,” England says.

While it took crews less than 15 minutes to extinguish the fire, the firemen remained at the scene for nearly two hours checking for any potential flare-ups.

“The mattress was still smouldering – those keep a lot of heat for a long time so we kept an eye on it,” says England.

He praised the family for their efforts to contain the fire, which prevented it from spreading through the rest of their home.

“The homeowner did a lot of good work before they called 911, using a fire extinguisher to dampen the fire down. They got everybody out and closed the door to the fire, which definitely helps stop the spread. If they hadn’t done that, the house would probably have been gone,” he says.

“The fire damage was contained to the fire room, but the whole upstairs definitely has a lot of smoke damage. The main floor is in good shape, but the smoke damage in the second-storey is extensive.”

England says the family is receiving assistance from Emergency Support Services, but it’s not known when they will be able to move back in.

He said while firefighters were able to save some Christmas gifts from being destroyed, their belongings were destroyed in the fire.

READ MORE: Family of five safe after early morning house fire in Gitaus

Community fundraiser organized

To help the family, Chrystal organized a spot draw with 100 participants raising $1,000 for the family. She said any further donations would be greatly appreciated.

E-transfers can made to tsimshian_20@hotmail.com or anyone who wants to help can also contact Lynn Parker at lynn.wright@telus.net.

“We’re just going to keep trying to fundraise, fundraise, fundraise to make sure the family is good and they can live in a little bit of peace at least through the holidays,” Chrystal says.


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Nanaimo hospital appears to be contained, says Island Health

Chief medical health officer urges patients to meet scheduled appointments

Beef to the person in the little car who tailgates me with high beams along Kilpatrick and Jingle Pot in the morning and lays on the horn when I turn left onto East Wellington. If following the speed limit is not going to get you where you are going on time please do not take it out on me. May I suggest you leave a bit sooner.
Beefs & Bouquets, Jan. 27

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

(News Bulletin file)
COVID-19 affects student enrolment and funding for Nanaimo school district

More distance-ed students leads to yet-to-be divvied out money, says SD68 secretary-treasurer

An Island Health graph showing COVID-19 cases in the central Island by local health area between Dec. 27 and Jan. 23. (Island Health image)
Central Island’s COVID-19 case spike shifting, says Island Health

Cowichan Valley has seen the highest number of cases, but Nanaimo and south Island seeing upticks

Cash and drugs allegedly found in a suspect’s possession following an arrest earlier this month in downtown Nanaimo. (Photo submitted)
Accused drug dealer arrested in downtown Nanaimo carrying $20,000, fentanyl, crack and meth

Terrance Virus, 39, being held in custody, scheduled to appear in court Feb. 1

An Island Health graph showing COVID-19 cases in the central Island by local health area between Dec. 27 and Jan. 23. (Island Health image)
Central Island’s COVID-19 case spike shifting, says Island Health

Cowichan Valley has seen the highest number of cases, but Nanaimo and south Island seeing upticks

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

This coming Thursday, Jan. 28, is Bell Let’s Talk Day, and conversations about mental health would serve many of us well as the pandemic persists. (Zackary Drucker/The Gender Spectrum Collection)
Editorial: Let’s talk about our mental health in a pandemic

Bell Let’s Talk Day is Thursday, Jan. 28

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Worker at Swartz Bay terminal on Monday, January 20, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Former BC Ferries employee alleges he was fired because of his race

Imraan Goondiwala has been granted a BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing

A concrete seawall built to prevent erosion on a property on Driftwood Drive on Mudge Island. (Islands Trust image)
Appeal Court says Mudge Island homeowners’ seawall has to go

Court decides right to guard against erosion isn’t a ‘privileged’ property right

B.C. Ferries is in the midst of gathering support from local governments for a plan that would fully electrify Island-class ferries. A pair of hybrid ferries are slated for the Gabriola-downtown Nanaimo ferry route for 2022. (News Bulletin file)
Hybrid vessels just a start as B.C. Ferries works toward fully electric sailings on Gabriola route

Ferry corporation seeking support from local governments for electrification plan

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Most Read