Langford firefighters hose down a house fire on Hawk Place on Bear Mountain on March 3. The residents are living in a hotel but must find rental housing for April 1.

Bear Mountain householders grateful for community assistance in wake of fire

Young couple living in basement most affected, online fundraiser collecting to help family get re-established

Noreen Rasmussen says she and husband Rene, son Kyle and his partner Shannon Salkey, are grateful for the outpouring of support from the community in the aftermath of the devastating fire that mostly destroyed their home on Hawk Place last week.

Offers of clothing, lodging and other household items have come in for the family from various sources. A GoFundMe page has been set up at for people wishing to help financially.

The group are staying at the Westin Bear Mountain to the end of this month, after which they’ll need to find rental housing. The home is expected to need demolishing and rebuilding, Rasmussen said.

“My husband and I have been married 36 years and we’ve gone through a lot of life experiences. It’s more Shannon and Kyle, we’re worried about them,” she said. The couple, both in their mid-20s, lived downstairs in the home and saw most of their belongings destroyed by the fire that started near a ground-level hot tub.

“I returned to work and my husband is retired; we’re trying to keep an air of normalcy,” Rasmussen said. “Their  bedroom faced the fire so their space bore the brunt of the damage.”

Salkey, whose mother Jo’s friend Melissa Rivard in Nanaimo initiated the GoFundMe campaign, emailed the Gazette recently to say she and the Rasmussens “have literally been bowled over by the kindness of strangers and neighbours – it certainly makes us feel blessed to be alive, and we will do anything in our power to pay all of this positivity forward – so really, thank you for helping, we love you all for it!”

The GoFundMe campaign has raised $1,820 of the goal of $5,000 as of March 12.

Rasmussen said insurance will cover most of the reconstruction of the home and replacement of the basic necessities for her and Rene, but their son and his girlfriend will likely need more material things, she added, not to mention household things that get forgotten.

She gave kudos to the fire crews for doing a good job of limiting the damage and spread of the fire. Taking a moment to pass along a message to other homeowners, Rasmussen encouraged people to ensure they have a working fire extinguisher on every floor in the home – theirs wasn’t working at the time of the fire – and make sure it gets checked annually.

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