Vavenby Fire Department battles the flames of a house fire Friday, April 9. (Photo from GoFundMe page)

Community rallies to support Vavenby family after house fire

Communities in the North Thompson have come together to support a family that lost their home in a house fire the evening of April 9.

Fire crews were called to a home in Vavenby after a call was made around 4:30 p.m. of a blaze at the home of the Millers, a family who had just moved to the area one month prior.

Ken Miller was barbecuing Friday evening, when he went inside to grab something. When he turned around, the house was engulfed in flames. He yelled out to everyone to get out of the house. His wife Melody, and their oldest daughter Tessa escaped the fire. Tessa dialed 911 on her cell phone and grabbed their three dogs.

The family also had three cats, only one of which they have managed to find.

When the fire department arrived, unfortunately, it was too late — the house had been burned to the ground in minutes.

Their “heritage home” used to be a schoolhouse and the local dance hall in Vavenby and was built in 1925. Due to the age of the building, there were some difficulties obtaining insurance, Joanne Laderoute, Melody’s sister, wrote in a GoFundMe page she created for the family.

When the house burned to the ground, it wasn’t insured. The GoFundMe page was established to help the Millers “start to rebuild their life.”

In addition to the funding page, members of the community have been rallying together to support the family. The night of the fire, they were welcomed by a local hotel, a neighbour refilled their prescriptions and had them delivered and the family was offered vouchers for clothing.

The next day, another local offered a cabin for them to stay in rent free until they found new housing.

“Amazing people in Clearwater,” Laderoute wrote. “Coming together during trying times.”

As of April 14, the GoFundMe page has raised $18,703 of the $25,000 goal. Those who wish to donate can find the page here.

“Donations have been pouring in,” Laderoute told The Times. “I’m so grateful for the help. My family is humbled and still in shock.”

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