An Abbotsford grandmother credited with saving her family of 10 from a house fire early Sunday morning was overwhelmed with emotion today (Monday) as she recalled the experience.
Kulwant Brar wiped away tears as she sat outside the charred home at 31866 Mayne Ave. Neighbour and close family friend Nav Brar, who translated her words, said Kulwant was still overwhelmed by the thought of what could have happened.
“They were all sleeping. They had no idea what was going on,” Kulwant said of the family members in the home at the time of the blaze.
Kulwant and her husband, Herbans, share the house with their three sons and their wives, as well as two grandsons – a three-month-old and a three-year-old.
Kulwant was awakened by the sound of the garage door opening, and thought one of her sons had returned home. She didn’t hear any footsteps in the house so she got up to check, and opened the garage door.
Flames were fully engulfing the area, and Kulwant then screamed for one of her sons who was sleeping in the basement. The rest of the family was roused, and everyone got out safely.
For that, Kulwant said she is most grateful.
“I am thankful my family escaped and all is well. The house can be rebuilt.”
Mike Helmer, deputy fire chief with Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service, said the blaze began in the garage, and damage to the home, three vehicles and a neighbouring house is estimated at $100,000.
The cause is still under investigation.
It is believed that the opening of the garage door that Kulwant heard was due to the fire melting electrical wires.
The family is now staying in another home they own – which they had planned to rent out – while their house is repaired.
They have lost most of their belongings to smoke and fire damage, but a neighbour said the community is uniting to help them replace many of those items.