The Malahat Nation community is in mourning after Thursday’s house fire in which an 18-year-old woman died.
Shawnigan Lake RCMP said four people escaped the blaze, but the woman died after alerting the others. Those who escaped were taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The blaze happened at the home of the victim’s grandparents, Tom and Audrey Harry, said Malahat Nation housing manager Pamela Mitchell.
“They’re elders in our community, very respected elders who work within the community.”
A statement from the Malahat Nation said people are responding to help those who were hurt. The victim’s name was not disclosed.
“A young woman was lost and a family lost everything, including their home,” the statement said.
“Many members have risen to the task of supporting the family. Malahat chief and council have joined the community in grieving and are not available for comment.”
A message on the Malahat Nation’s Facebook page asked for contributions for those who were hurt.
“Please consider donating,” the message said. “Any and all support we can generate for the family would be greatly appreciated.”
Donations of clothes, household items and furniture can be dropped off at the Malahat Health Centre at 5 Kwunew Kwasun Lane.
There are also two fundraising drives underway, including one for the Harrys. It has been put together by Maureen Daniels, Tom Harry’s cousin.
“They will need everything to get them back on their feet,” she wrote.
A GoFundMe page for Dylan Jim and Kendra Page is in place, as well, having been started by Jim’s sister, Sandra Joseph.
Joseph wrote that they lost all they had, including their clothes, shoes, bed and television.
“Dylan was burned on his feet, knee and back,” she said. “His wife, Kendra, just had smoke in her lungs, but was discharged later in the morning on June 10.”
Both are doing fine, Joseph said.
She said in an interview that people in the house had little time to react to the fire.
“From what my brother told me, it just happened so fast that he thought everyone got out.”
Her brother will be off work because of his injuries, Joseph said.
She said thanked people for their generosity. “We’re very happy and blessed with all the support that we’ve been getting.”