The Thornhill Fire Department responded to the call from the family at 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15 on Tsunyow Street in Gitaus. (Screenshot)

Fire damages Terrace family’s home 10 days before Christmas

Family is safe, though fire killed two pets early Sunday morning

  • Dec. 16, 2019 3:00 p.m.

A Gitaus family is hoping for a Christmas miracle after their home and most of their belongings were damaged in a fire that also claimed the lives of two of their pets.

The Seymour family woke up just after midnight on Saturday, Dec. 14, to find their Tsunyow Street home on fire. They made a lucky escape, but two of their pets didn’t make it out, their newly arrived kitten Lulu and their hamster, Hamlet.

Lulu was a birthday gift for the family’s daughter who celebrated her 13th birthday on Sunday.

Mom Danielle Seymour’s sister Chrystal, speaking on behalf on the family, said with ten days left until Christmas the family needed the community’s help more than ever.

She said along with the death of their two pets, the Seymours also lost most of their belongings in the fire.

“Everything is still fresh and the shock is still there. We’re just trying to stick together so we can get through this one day at a time,” Chrystal says. “They’re devastated, but they’re hanging in there.”

This is the second time the Seymour family has experienced a house fire in the last year – in April Chrystal’s other sister Leanne Woods’ house caught fire in Gitaus and most of their family’s belongings were damaged by smoke. The house had to be renovated before the family could move back in.

READ MORE: Family of five safe after early morning house fire in Gitaus

“This is twice now this year in my family. It’s very hard. It’s devastating right now,” she says.

Apart from dad Frank Hogue, who was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, the rest of the family escaped without injury.

Thornhill Fire Department deputy fire chief Christopher England said the fire department responded to a call from the family at 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15. Three fire engines, including a ladder and duty vehicle, were sent to fight the blaze.

He said when the crews arrived they could see the windows in one of the three daughter’s bedrooms were blackened with smoke, with more smoke billowing out the top of the building.

READ MORE: Two people safe following house fire in Upper Thornhill

“The family is alright. At least one of the family members was treated for smoke inhalation and two pets didn’t make it. The dogs made it, but the cat and the hamster were unfortunate victims,” England says.

While it took crews less than 15 minutes to extinguish the fire, the firemen remained at the scene for nearly two hours checking for any potential flare-ups.

“The mattress was still smouldering – those keep a lot of heat for a long time so we kept an eye on it,” says England.

He praised the family for their efforts to contain the fire, which prevented it from spreading through the rest of their home.

“The homeowner did a lot of good work before they called 911, using a fire extinguisher to dampen the fire down. They got everybody out and closed the door to the fire, which definitely helps stop the spread. If they hadn’t done that, the house would probably have been gone,” he says.

“The fire damage was contained to the fire room, but the whole upstairs definitely has a lot of smoke damage. The main floor is in good shape, but the smoke damage in the second-storey is extensive.”

England says the family is receiving assistance from Emergency Support Services, but it’s not known when they will be able to move back in.

He said while firefighters were able to save some Christmas gifts from being destroyed, their belongings were destroyed in the fire.

READ MORE: Family of five safe after early morning house fire in Gitaus

Community fundraiser organized

To help the family, Chrystal organized a spot draw with 100 participants raising $1,000 for the family. She said any further donations would be greatly appreciated.

E-transfers can made to tsimshian_20@hotmail.com or anyone who wants to help can also contact Lynn Parker at lynn.wright@telus.net.

“We’re just going to keep trying to fundraise, fundraise, fundraise to make sure the family is good and they can live in a little bit of peace at least through the holidays,” Chrystal says.


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

From the Chilliwack Progress Archives: Fearing an Aryan invasion

In 1995, Chilliwack Mayor John Les was concerned about the idea of an ‘Aryan Fest’ coming to town.

Big Bar Landslide saw long awaited blasting this week

Pressure has been on senior governments working with First Nations to remove blockage for months

COLUMN: Trying to look forward while looking back

Reader suggests re-running a 2015 Times column after recent racism towards Indigenous people

Two prolific offenders from Alberta lead RCMP on chase across Fraser Valley

Men first reported in Chilliwack ending with allegedly stolen vehicle in an Abbotsford pond

Chilliwack physiotherapist charged with sexual assault

Mounties urging other potential victims to make contact

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

Fiery collision involving truck closes Highway 1 at Three Valley Gap

Drivers should expect major delays and congestion; estimated time of re-opening is 2 p.m.

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Most Read