Nanaimo mom seeks help after fire

Kathleen Arsenault just wants clothing for her children and a roof over their heads.

Kathleen Arsenault just wants clothing for her children and a roof over their heads.

That’s what the single mother of two young children lost Friday in a fire in her son’s bedroom.

Arsenault, 24, her son, 3, and daughter, 2, were napping on Friday morning in the Fifth Street duplex the family moved into recently when she was awoken shortly after 11 a.m. by the smoke alarm.

She ran into her son’s bedroom and saw his bed ablaze. Dazed and still half asleep, she grabbed her son and ran out.

“We were all supposed to be sleeping,” said Arsenault. “All I could hear was the smoke alarm. I just remember dragging my kids out of there.”

Arsenault and her two children got out unharmed, but the contents of her son’s room were torched and there is heavy smoke damage throughout the upper floor of the rental house.

There is also water damage on the lower floor, so much of her furniture and possessions are destroyed.

Fire officials say significant restoration work will have to be done before the family can move back in.

Arsenault does not have fire insurance and she used the last of her social assistance money paying rent for the month.

“I don’t have any furniture, anything,” she said. “I’m not sure what to do.”

Rick Kwasnecha, fire investigator with Nanaimo Fire Rescue, said he’s still investigating the cause of the blaze.

“It definitely started in the bedroom on his bed, but other than that, I can’t say,” he said. “It’s not suspicious.”

Kwasnecha said Arsenault will have to find another place to live because restoration work will take some time.

“Most of the stuff on the upper floor is destroyed,” he said.

Arsenault is looking for help with rent, as well as donations of food, clothing and furniture. She can be reached by calling 250-618-1260.