A Kitsumkalum family lost everything in a house fire Monday evening.
Fire crews from Terrace and Thornhill responded to the fire on Spokeshute Road just before 6 p.m., with assistance from BC Ambulance and RCMP on Dec. 16.
According to a notice posted by Kitsumkalum, there were six people from the Miller family living in the house ranging from a great grandmother to two great grandchildren. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
“They lost everything. They got out with the clothes on their back, some without shoes,” says Charlene Webb, Kitsumkalum health director.
Webb says the family was treated for smoke inhalation at Mills Memorial Hospital and then released.
The Kitsumkalum Health Centre will be covering the cost of their medical treatment, and organized a motel for the family to stay overnight. Arrangements have also been made for the family to stay in another residence in the meantime.
Thornhill Fire Department deputy-chief Christopher England says they provided back-up assistance to the Terrace Fire Department, who is the primary responder, arriving on scene around 6:30 p.m.
“It was a ways out and the roads were horrible,” England says.
With the Kitsumkalum fire department not operating, there’s an agreement in place for the Terrace Fire Department to be the primary responder with assistance and backup provided by the Thornhill Fire Department.
The Thornhill department was doing its annual Parade of Lights the night of Dec. 16 and diverted three of its trucks from the parade to assist.
“When we got there there were flames in the basement but it had obviously progressed up into the attic space because there was a hole there,” England says. “It took at least an hour [to put out] and then we made sure there were no hot spots after that.
“I don’t think anyone will be living there again.”
With just days before Christmas, the Kitsumkalum Health Centre (3523 West Kalum Road) is collecting monetary and clothing donations for the family. Donations can be dropped off between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We are accepting donations, clothing, food… they lost everything,” she says. “Once they get settled, we will advertise the address they are at so donations can go straight to the family.”
Webb says the family is okay, but still going through the shock from last night’s fire.
“When they see the house today in the daylight, it’s going to hit them hard. So we’re working on getting some councillors organized for them,” Webb says.
“Both communities are just very blessed we didn’t lose a life in the fire.
This is the second house fire to hit the Terrace area in the last few days. Webb says the Kitsumkalum Health Centre has also reached out to the family in Gitaus who also lost their home on Dec. 15.
With two house fires in less than a week, England reminds the public to make sure their doors are closed at night, and to not have any combustibles close to spaces heaters, and unplug them if not at home.