Alyssa Campbell had found the perfect little home for her and her three-year-old daughter, Chloe.
It was a small house, with a huge garden, and close to her work at SaraBella’s Gluten Free Cafe. They moved their things in at the end of April, and with the bedrooms not yet set up, stayed the night at a relative’s house. They left their two cats and dog to stay in the house.
In the middle of the night, the phone rang.
It was the RCMP, and their house was on fire. Campbell scrambled out of bed and went to the scene, on Norrish Avenue.
“I got a call at 2 a.m. from the police, basically saying ‘do you live here, this house is on fire?’” she recalls. “That’s my house. I just had moved in two days before.”
The house was destroyed.
“Unfortunately our dog didn’t make it,” she said. “Her name was Clover and she was three years old, too. She was a husky.”
It was one of several fires on and around Norrish Avenue between early May and now. From what Campbell has been told, the fire is considered suspicious and may have been arson.
In the days following the fire, her co-workers at SaraBella’s rallied around her and Chloe. They started a GoFundMe page, and searched out other ways to help the two. They also came to The Progress to share Campbell’s story to see if the community could help them rebuild.
Campbell has since found a place to live, and had been staying temporarily at a relatives. But as with any fire victim, it’s going to take a lot to get their lives back to normal. But Campbell says they are doing well in many ways.
“Chloe’s so strong,” Campbell says of her daughter. “She’s actually doing really well. We’ve had a lot of people coming forward and helping out, so we’re not having to stress over the little things.”
But there are still a lot of little things the young family will need. And to help them get there, SaraBella’s is having a fundraising bake sale. Everything sold from their bake case will go toward the fundraiser for Campbell. It’s a fitting fundraiser, as Campbell is one of the gluten-free cafes long-time bakers.
She had learned about restrictive diets while working at Stillwood Camp, and is a self-taught baker.
“I’ve been with them since they opened, just over two years ago, and I love it,” Campbell says. “I’ve never had any specific training in baking, other than Wilton decorating courses, but it’s always been something I loved to do with my mom when she home schooled me.”
The day of the bake sale is June 20, and extra donations will also be accepted.
Co-worker Veronica Barrera is behind the efforts to help.
“It was just a big, big mess,” Barrera says of the days following the fire. “Everyone had helped her move into her house. I didn’t know what to do to help.”
She got the GoFundMe going, which was slow to take off at first. It’s at just over $1,500 this week, and they hope to raise more so Campbell can focus on her daughter.
“That’s her main passion, is spending time with her family,” Barrera says.
In the meantime, RCMP and the Chilliwack Fire Department are investigating the fire and considered it suspicious. A fire broke out at the house next door this week, as well.
To help Alyssa and Chloe Campbell, visit the GoFundMe page or drop by the bake sale on June 20.