A fire in Xwemelch’stn displaces a young family


Two young children and their parents were moved after a house fire in Xwemelch’stn on Sunday afternoon. A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family get back on their feet

A major house fire in the Squamish Nation community of Xwemelch’stn (Capilano 5) on Sunday afternoon (January 23) left a family of four displaced and in need of support.

At around 1:20 p.m. Sunday, the West Vancouver Fire and Rescue Service was dispatched after reporting a fire along Whonoak Road. According to Deputy Chief Jeremy Calder, upon arrival firefighters were greeted by “thick smoke and flames billowing from the front of the house”.

“A fire was declared, with the dispatch of two additional engines and a duty chief, triggering mutual aid from the District of North Vancouver, and a total of seven aircraft arriving on the scene,” Calder said. “All residents of the house were safe outside the building, but unfortunately one pet was lost.”

In a GoFundMe set up for the family, parent Deborah Baker said the family, which includes a 12-year-old and four-month-old, are now temporarily staying at a nearby hotel in North Vancouver.

“This beautiful, young family lost everything in this fire,” Baker wrote, adding that while they currently have access to food stamps, they need donations to replace clothes and shoes.

“Thank you for any support you can give, prayers, clothing, funding, local housing,” she said.

Calder said while the cause of the fire has yet to be determined, an investigation is ongoing and ongoing.

“Remember that smoke alarms save lives. Have smoke detectors installed on every level of your home, inside every bedroom and outside every sleeping area,” he said. “For the best protection, use interconnected alarms so that when one rings they all ring, and make sure everyone in your home can hear the smoke detectors, and test the alarms monthly.”

At press time, the GoFundMe had received just over $8,000 in donations towards its $20,000 goal.


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