Two families are recovering from an from an early morning fire that took one home and significantly damaged the other on Logan Road in Agassiz last Wednesday.
Although the first home – originally a duplex – was vacant at the time, the fire left very little salvageable.
The owners, Sara and Lance Jarvis, were renovating their home following a fire that damaged the other half of the duplex in January.
The house next door was also damaged from the fire, primarily in the top right section of the home.
Fortunately, Shawna Penney – who was renting the neighbouring home – her three sons and the two family dogs escaped the fire safe and unharmed.
RCMP are still investigating exactly what caused the fire, and have yet to release any official word on the blaze.
In the meantime, the Jarvis family and the Penney family are trying to put the pieces together of what they should do next.
“I think we are too in shock to really think about the next step,” Sara said. “We are just trying to act as happy and calm as we can for the kids.”
As the family was in the final stages of the renovations in the house before they could move back in, the Mom said it was hard not to be frustrated thinking about the hundreds of hours spent repairing the damages from January.
“We were so close, so very close,” she explained. “The house was painted, new flooring [was installed] where needed, our kitchen cabinet boxes were up.”
In fact, her family had planned on taking the couple’s three kids camping May long weekend so the Mom and Dad could finish the last few renovations on their home, Sara said.
But when she got the call that her home was on fire, Sara thought it was a dream.
“We didn’t believe it at first; we had already been through this once,” she recalled.
Feeling the immediate shock, when Sara and Lance arrived at their house while emergency crews were fighting the blaze, the realness of the situation sunk in.
“I couldn’t stop crying. It just couldn’t be happening again, not when we were so close,” Sara said.
The same shock was felt by Penney, and while the family waits for their insurance company to finish its report, her sons have been forced to split up between staying with their grandma in Hope, and in their grandpa’s trailer just outside of town.
Penney ultimately just wants her family back together.
“We’re trying to find a place to live,” she said, adding that it’s been a challenge to find a house or suite to rent that allows dogs and can fit four adults.
“It’s so overwhelming,” she continued.
Since the fire, clean up crews have already boarded up the holes where windows once were on the duplex, and several community members have taken the initiative to raise funds for both the Jarvis and the Penney’s.
So far, a GoFundMe page called ‘Jarvis’ Family Home has raised more than $6,000 for the Jarvis family.
“The amount of people who have come to me with tears in their eyes and love in their hearts to give us hugs and kind words is such a blessing,” Sara said. “It just means so much to us to know we have the support of so many people around us.”
A similar page, called The Shawna Penney Family Fire Fund, was created on GoGetFunding.com, and has raised about $600 since its inception.
Penney and her sons also need to replace several necessities that were damaged from the fire, including beds, a couch, a table, chairs, towels, clothing, and dishes.
Penney said she did not have content insurance and the fire destroyed their living room, kitchen and her youngest sons room.
Anyone looking to make a donation, can get in contact with the fundraising page administrators.