Geoffrey Holland and his dog Cinnamon at the Douglas Park rec centre on the day of the fire.

A ‘thank you very much’ to helpful strangers from Langley fire victim

One of more than 100 displaced by the Paddington Station condominium complex blaze on 201A Avenue

On Monday, Geoffrey Holland returned to the burnt-out shell of his former home in the Paddington Station condominium complex on 201A Avenue.

At a noon-hour meeting, the Langley City fire department had offered to help residents of the fourth floor, where the damage from the Sunday fire was the worst, to retrieve any valuables that survived the blaze.

Holland wasn’t allowed to go into his suite because the roof had collapsed into his living room.

But the firefighters who did, managed to find the electronic items he was asking for, and his hard-to-replace shoes and boots as well.

“They brought down everything (I asked for),” he said.

The 6’7″ Holland takes a size 16, so he was especially pleased to find his footwear had survived the flames because he had left the building wearing sandals.

His car is another story, however.

It was in the underground parking lot, and he has been told it is under four feet of water.

On the Sunday of the fire, Holland was at the Douglas Rec centre with the other evacuees, getting ready to rent a car to take himself and his dog to stay with his mother on the North Shore.

That was when a couple he’d never met before offered to give him a ride anywhere he needed.

So it was off to Wal-Mart in Langley, where he picked up dog food, dry socks and some other items of clothing.

Another person ended up driving him to the North Shore.

When he mentioned that he was looking for a CPAP machine, because the one he uses for his sleep apnea had been left behind in the fire, the woman who was driving offered a solution.

“My husband has one he doesn’t use,” the woman told him.

The machine was missing a mask, but that proved to be no problem, either, because Holland’s sister had gone on social media to mention her brother was in need of a machine.

A friend of the sister saw the message and drove to a parent’s place to pick up some spare masks, one of which fit perfectly.

On Monday, Holland was driving a rented SUV, after patiently explaining to the rental company that anything smaller simply wouldn’t fit.

Holland said the strata agent who manages Paddington Station has informed the residents that the building has enough insurance to completely rebuild, if necessary.

He said there was no estimate of how long that might take.

As for the many strangers who have helped Holland and the dozens of other residents displaced by the fire, he has just one thing to say.

“Thank you very much.”

Just Posted

Abbotsford parents invited to anti-gang education session

Presenters to discern myth from reality, offer warning signs that youths are getting into gangs

Welcome to 89 years at the same Abbotsford address

Philip Sheffield lunch brings past students together one more time

Abbotsford firefighters knock down house fire before it can spread

No one believed to be inside structure at the time of the fire on Clayburn Road Saturday morning

Abbotsford youths grill mayor on environmental policy at rally

Local youths continued climate strike as worldwide action takes place in hundreds of cities

Stolen stamp collection has been returned to owners in Abbotsford

Good Samaritan found the stamps hidden away in some bushes and turned them over to police

Police release photos of suspect in daytime sex assault at Vancouver woman’s home

A young woman, in hers 20s, was followed home by the man, before he violently attacked her inside

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

UPDATE: Surrey RCMP say boy, 11, missing for two days found safe

Dominic Mattie was last seen at 5 p.m. in the 13500-block of Gateway Drive in Surrey

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Burnaby facility to dispose of 1,500 tonnes of Canada’s trash from Philippines

All 103 containers will be disposed of properly within Canada before the end of the summer

Most Read