The community is rallying behind the Patterson/Roberts family, who lost much of their possessions to a fire at their Malahat home on Christmas Day. (Contributed photo).

Community rallies behind Malahat family

A fire ripped through the Patterson’s home on Christmas

On Christmas Day, instead of opening presents and spending time with loved ones, Bill Patterson and his family watched as their house went up in flames.

On Dec. 25 around 9 a.m., Patterson and his wife, Sali Roberts were using their wood burning stove to keep their Malahat house warm after a snowfall when they heard a noise on the roof and went to investigate. To Patterson’s horror, he saw smoke coming from the chimney.

The family had enough time to grab their two dogs and two cats, and a few possessions before they were able to escape. For six painstaking hours, Patterson watched helplessly as firefighters attempted to extinguish the blaze that consumed his home.

Because of the construction and shape of the house, crews eventually had to tear off the roof with an excavator before they could put out the fire. “You feel pretty numb. You hope they can put it out and at the beginning it looked like such a small fire and then it just kept spreading and you slowly start to realize it’s not going well. You don’t really know what to think,” said the 62-year-old, who had been living in the home since 1986. “We’re still wrapping our heads around it. It will take a while for it to sink in, but we all got out alive and really that’s the biggest concern.”

The cause is still under investigation. Since the fire, the family has been staying at a motel. That’s when Nicole Gibson, a family friend, sprang into action. She set up an online fundraising campaign on Boxing Day to raise much-needed funds for the Patterson’s. In a little more than a week, the campaign has raised $7,600 of its $10,000 goal, which will be used to help the family with day-to-day necessities.

The family also has a small hobby farm of chickens and llamas, and while it was untouched by the fire, has no access to running water or electricity as the power to the property has been shut off for safety reasons. Donations, such as a pump for water that can function without electricity, are also welcome.

“We’ve been really touched by the kindness of people, it’s been quite heartwarming. It means a huge amount to our family…. it takes a huge amount of pressure off knowing you don’t have to worry where the funds are going to come from if you need to get something now,” Patterson said.

He added after the fire he was able to salvage little things such as a cutting board, batteries, and oddly enough, the Christmas tree and a few ornaments.

“It’s really good knowing there’s that kind of kindness and support out there. It really gives us faith in human kind.”

Up next, Patterson hopes to spruce up an old RV trailer that the family can live in temporarily on the site. Then they’ll start to rebuild – a process they anticipate will take a few years to complete.

For more information on the campaign visit gofundme.com/help-the-patterson-roberts-family.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

kendra.wong@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Shamrocks sitting in second spot in Junior A standings

Victoria split games over the weekend and beat the Timbermen Wednesday

Beat the heat at the spray park

Several options across the West Shore

Taxing Vancouver Island

Big Read: find out which communities are paying the lowest and highest taxes on Vancouver Island

Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

Moms Stop the Harm, a nationwide network of families who have lost loved ones to overdoses rally

Drug Use: High school students comfortable talking about marijuana but not other drugs

Teens not always willing to make the first move to get help

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

Amalgamation fails in North Cowichan and Duncan

North Cowichan says yes, but Duncan says no

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

Feds announce measures to protect endangered whale species

Canada’s Whale Initiative is part of the federal government’s $1.5 billion Ocean Protection Plan

COC session vote approves Calgary as potential host for 2026 Olympics

Scott Hutcheson, chair of Calgary’s Olympic bid corporation — called vote a positive step forward

Mounties seize 1,500 pot plants in ‘extensive Shawnigan raid

Mounties searched a property in the 4800-block of Goldstream Heights Drive on May 30

B.C. soldier shot down a century ago to be honoured

Norman Stuart Harper, of Kamloops, was killed on a bombing mission over Lahr, Germany, in 1918

Most Read