More than $200,000 has so far been raised through online fundraising campaigns for victims of the recent Delair Court Apartments fire in Abbotsford.
More than 25 fundraisers have been posted on GoFundMe in support of residents who lost everything in the massive blaze on Feb. 14.
Assistant chief Ron Hull of Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service says the extent of the damage means an investigation hasn’t pinpointed a cause of the blaze and it remains undetermined.
But Hull says the results “lean toward” smoking materials that weren’t properly discarded.
Among the residents impacted by the blaze were Eliot and Teresa, retirees who lost nearly 70 years’ worth of belongings. They had just finished moving the entire contents of their storage unit into their apartment, with the intention of sorting through the items to keep, donate or pass down to family members.
Items lost in the fire include Teresa’s wedding ring, boxes of family photos, their vinyl collection and other sentimental heirlooms.
Also impacted was 10-year-old Barbara Rose, who has special needs and lost the equipment she requires to walk, communicate, sleep, and learn sign language.
She had surgery a year ago on her hips to help her on her journey to learn to walk and was finally able to start bearing weight this month. Her devices were critical for walking and were destroyed in the fire, along with her special-needs tricycle, which is valued at $3,500 to $4,500.
Another resident of Delair Court who lost everything is the family of Kaya, who was recently diagnosed with autism and turned five on the day of the fire.
Her family’s apartment was next to the unit that was the source of the blaze. All of Kaya’s birthday presents were destroyed.
Colleagues of her mom, Akiko, set up a fundraiser to help the family and even went out shopping for birthday gifts and a cake for Kaya.
A centralized page listing all the fundraisers can be found by searching “Help the Victims of the Abbotsford Apartment Fire” at gofundme.com.
Meanwhile, the Salvation Army in Abbotsford is also continuing to provide support for the impacted residents.
The agency says the most effective way to help is by providing financial donations by calling 604-852-9305 (ext. 0 or 138) or dropping off in person or by mail at the Centre of Hope at 34081 Gladys Ave. (Specify that the donation is for the Delair apartment fire.)
Donations of clothing, small kitchen appliances, dishes and other household items can be made at the thrift store at 34081 Gladys Ave. Due to the high volume of donations, it is advised to call ahead first – 604-852-9305 (ext. 139).
Donations of furniture are not being accepted at this time, and drop-off donations are not accepted on Wednesdays.
Delair Court residents will be provided with complimentary vouchers so that they can shop for the items they most need.
Donations can also be made by cashing in beverage containers at R&T Recycling (31550 South Fraser Way) and asking for the proceeds to go into the Salvation Army account.
For more information on how to offer support, visit “Help for Delair Court” on Facebook.
The residents of all 57 units in the building were evacuated. A second building in the complex, which has 45 units, was also evacuated and has smoke damage. The electrical feed to that building is expected to be restored before March 5.
– with a file from Canadian Press