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House fire at Xwemelch'stn displaces young family

Two young children and their parents have been displaced after a house fire in Xwemelch'stn Sunday afternoon. A GoFundMe has been set up to support the family get back on their feet
Screenshot 2022-01-25 131328
A young family of four is seeking help after losing their home to a fire at Xwemelch'stn Sunday afternoon.

A major house fire in the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) community of Xwemelch'stn (Capilano 5) on Sunday afternoon (Jan. 23) has left a family of four displaced and in need of support.

Around 1:20 p.m. on Sunday, West Vancouver Fire and Rescue was dispatched after reports of a fire along Whonoak Road. According to Assistant Chief Jeremy Calder, on arrival, fire crews were met with “heavy smoke and flames issuing from the front of the home.”

“A working fire was declared, with an additional two engines and duty chief dispatched, triggering mutual aid from the District of North Vancouver, and a total of seven apparatus arriving on scene,” Calder said. “All residents of the home were safely outside of the building, but sadly, a pet was lost.”

In a GoFundMe set up for the family, relative Deborah Baker said the family, which includes a 12-year-old and four-month-old, are now temporarily staying at a nearby hotel in North Vancouver.

“This beautiful, young family lost everything in this fire,” Baker wrote, adding while they currently have access to food vouchers, they need donations to replace clothing and shoes.

“Thank you for any support you can provide, prayers, clothes, financial, local housing,” she said.

Calder said while the cause of the fire is yet to be determined, an investigation is underway and ongoing.

“Please remember smoke alarms save lives. Have smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, inside each bedroom, and outside each sleeping area,” he said. “For the best protection, use interconnected alarms, so when one sounds, they all sound, and make sure everyone in your home can hear the smoke alarms, and test the alarms monthly.”

At time of publication, the GoFundMe had received just over $8,000 in donations towards its $20,000 goal.