As a young girl pulled from her burning View Royal home recovers in hospital, at least one friend is trying to arrange a video visit from Canadian pop idol Justin Bieber.
Katrina Van Winkle, 9, is in fair condition at B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.
“Katrina continues to be in fair condition, which means that her vital signs are stable and within normal limits,” said a statement from the hospital on Friday.
Flames were shooting out the windows of the 2,000-square-foot single-family rancher when fire crews arrived at 116 Paddock Pl. about 3 a.m. Thursday.
Katrina’s great-grandmother, 78, was inside the basement door trying to crawl toward the girl’s bedroom. Her grandmother, 58, was unconscious at the front door.
View Royal fire Chief Paul Hurst dragged Katrina from the main floor hallway onto the front lawn and resuscitated her. She was airlifted to Vancouver in serious condition. Her grandmother is in Vancouver with her, while her great-grandmother is in Victoria General Hospital.
Meanwhile, Tanja Kiefert used her Facebook account to post appeals to The Ellen DeGeneres Show, among others, in an effort to get singer Justin Bieber to send one of his Beliebers a video message.
“My daughters friend Katrina Van Winkle has been injured in a house fire that took everything yesterday .. I am trying to get Justin to video message her a get well message she is one of his biggest fans Please Help me I want her to have something that will make her smile,” says a message attributed to Kiefert.
Hurst said the fire provides an opportunity to remind parents to plan escape routes with their children.
Katrina left her bedroom and went upstairs to the main floor, even though there was a door in the basement leading outside.
“She probably never came out that basement door once in her life. She’s probably always come out of her bedroom and gone up the stairs and that’s her natural course,” Hurst said.
“Essentially, when she went up the stairs, she’s walking up a chimney because the fire is in the basement so all the heat and smoke and heat is going up the stairwell, following her.”
Fire prevention officers advise every household have a working smoke alarm — photoelectric and ionization — on each floor and in every bedroom. Carbon monoxide alarms are also recommended.
The blaze is believed to have started in a basement laundry room as a result of materials stored too close to a baseboard heater. Storing combustible items too close to heat-producing appliances or stoves can result in devastating fires, Hurst said.
“The difference between life and death [Thursday] and firefighters being injured is literally counted in seconds,” he said.
“It was that tight. It’s hard to describe.”
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