Family devastated by fire

Help needed: Young couple and their son scramble for new home and furniture after fire and smoke destroy belongings.

It was probably the quickest turnout the Lake Cowichan Fire Department had ever made.

On Dec. 16 at about 6:30 p.m., the LCVFD received a call to attend a fire in the town.

“There were about 25 of us together at the firehall,” said Fire Chief Doug Knott. “We were at the hall already for a children’s party, so it was a pretty quick turnout.”

Several of the firefighters were dispatched to the address on South Shore Road, in the apartment located above Studio 261 Arts Space, to the home of a Lake Cowichan couple and their son.

Heather Page, Darren McDonald and seven-year-old Noah came home together between 5 – 5:30 p.m. after work and school that day. Page says she noticed there were some lights out in the string of Christmas lights they had up in the apartment, and she wanted to replace them.

“We were there twenty minutes, not even, and we left to get some more lights,” recalled Page. “We were gone for maybe an hour, and when we came back the place was just . . . there was this much soot on the ground.”

She says they have no idea how the fire started, but when they arrived back at the apartment at about 6:30 p.m., they couldn’t see anything through the smoke.

“All we could see were Christmas lights,” she said. “I took one step in there and as soon as I saw (the smoke), I ran across the street and asked the neighbour to call 911.”

Knott said the fire wasn’t a difficult one to put out, the smoke, however, caused a lot of the damage.

“They stepped into a wall of smoke,” said Fire Chief Doug Knott, “and I’m not sure what will be salvageable from the contents in the apartment. There is heavy smoke and heat damage.”

Since then, different services and businesses in the town, including  Cowichan Lake Community Services, have been pitching in to help the young couple who had no house insurance and lost everything in the fire.

A funding account has been set up for the Page family at Island Trust Savings Credit Union. People can go to any Island Trust branch to make a donation to account No. 2258002, Lake Cowichan branch.