Kathy Lennstrom lost everything in a fire that burned through her townhouse last week.
The 46-year-old was just about to go to bed around 8:30 p.m. when she smelled smoke and opened her bedroom door to a wall of thick, black smoke.
She ran to the window, on the second floor of the Highland Boulevard townhouse, and yelled for help.
A neighbour urged her to jump, but Lennstrom was scared. By the time she lifted her leg to get over the window frame, the smoke was getting to her and she tumbled out.
“All I remember is waking up in the parking lot,” she said.
Lennstrom was released from hospital Saturday, but she is unable to work due to injuries from the fall – internal bleeding, bruises and cuts on her legs, a swollen left knee and badly bruised and pulled muscles in her right shoulder and back.
“I can’t sleep at night because there’s too much pain,” she said.
Lennstrom had no fire insurance.
“I have nowhere to go and I have to start from scratch,” she said.
Lennstrom wants others to learn from her story.
While the strata’s insurance will cover repairs to the building itself, neither Lennstrom nor the owner of the townhouse, whom she was renting a room from, had contents insurance.
Had she taken out a policy, she would have lost wages covered and her belongings replaced, said Lennstrom.
“It’s only $22 a month, I found out,” she said. “If I knew that, I would have probably gotten it. Now I’m just hooped for so many things.”
Lennstrom said people should also remember to test their smoke alarms and change the batteries every six months so that the devices work when you need them to.
“It would have taken 10 minutes to get batteries into those fire alarms,” she said.
Lennstrom is seeking help from the public to replace her belongings and find a place to live. If anyone is able to help, please e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.