Victoria firefighters attend the scene of a November fire at 829 Hillside Avenue.

Victoria firefighters attend the scene of a November fire at 829 Hillside Avenue.

Families rebuilding after townhouse fire

Families are slowly beginning to rebuild their lives nearly a month after a fire ripped through a townhouse complex on Hillside Avenue.

Families are slowly beginning to rebuild their lives nearly a month after a fire ripped through a townhouse complex on Hillside Avenue.

According to Kelly Greenwell, executive director of the Quadra Village Community Centre, which is currently providing support to the six families who were displaced by a fire at the Evergreen Terrace Townhouses last month, almost all the families are living in housing and are starting to rebuild their lives.

“They’re making headway. It’s been easier for families to chip away at things by identifying some essential needs and taking the next step of ‘we have those needs met, what else do we need’? Because it’s everything from toys to a flipper for your frying pan to pots and pans that need to be replaced,” Greenwell said.

“To build your life back up in terms of all your material possession is a huge undertaking just on its own. When you mix in the trauma of a fire, having to run or walk away from your household in the middle of the night, it just magnifies how difficult it is.

“It’s taken a while, it’s made life really busy for (the families).”

Around 3 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 18, firefighters responded to a blaze at a housing complex located at 829 Hillside Ave., and arrived to find residents had already fled from the flames. Crews were able to put out the fire, however, officials said three suites were heavily damaged and four will require extensive repairs.

The investigation into the fire is now complete, however, the cause is undetermined as investigators were unable to do a physical examination due to the structural integrity of the building.

Greenwell was woken up early that morning by his phone that lit up with text messages from people telling him about the fire. Shortly after, Greenwell and a number of other local organizations sprung into action to help the roughly 35 victims of the fire, setting up an emergency fund and making sure the victims had a place to stay.

Three of the families have since been housed on site at the Evergreen Terrace complex, and three have been provided housing elsewhere through B.C. Housing.

In the weeks following the fire, the community rallied behind the families, donating more than $10,000 in financial donations, money which will go towards replacing things on a case-by-case basis. In addition, a few thousands dollars of in-kind materials such as clothing, kitchen appliances, bunk beds, gift cards and couches have been donated. At times, there were so many donations, the community centre had a hard time keeping up.

There have been points of frustration along the way for the families trying to piece their lives back together, and some children have had trouble sleeping at night due to trauma from the fire, but Greenwell said most families are getting back into the daily routines of driving their children to school and heading to appointments.

“There’s been a lot of gratitude for the help that’s been offered up,” said Greenwell, who checks in with the families at least once a week. “It’s exhausting to rebuild like this . . . you really see how much people care.”

The Mustard Seed has also been collecting clothing, furniture and financial donations for the families on behalf of the community centre.

“The community just stepped up, as we do when there’s a significant call to action — we act,” said Allan Lingwood, director of development with the food bank.

Donations are still being accepted as part of the Quadra Village Emergency Fund for victims of the fire. To donate visit quadravillagecc.com, call 250-388-7696, or email frontdesk@quadravillagecc.com.

 

 

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

Just Posted

Willow, a kitten belonging to a Victoria family, was rescued by firefighters on Thursday after she got stuck in a basement drain pipe. (City of Victoria/Twitter)
Victoria kitten stuck in basement drain pipe rescued by firefighters

Willow the cat on the mend, owner feeling ‘enormous gratitude’

(Black Press Media file photo)
Blue-green algae bloom confirmed in Elk Lake, water-based activities not recommended

Blue-green algae can be lethal to dogs, cause health issues for humans

Victoria police arrested a man Jan. 15 after he rammed his minivan into an occupied police vehicle. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria man arrested for ramming minivan into occupied police vehicle

Man caught after fleeing, crashing into cement retaining wall

Mayor Rob Martin and Costa Canna president Phil Floucault cut the ribbon on Colwood’s first cannabis retail store. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Cowichan Tribes’ Costa Canna cannabis store opens in Colwood

Cowichan Tribes has one-year deal to grow, sell cannabis

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Most Read