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Penticton  

Family loses everything

Video by Trevor Rockliffe

A family that was jarred awake by an early morning fire in Oliver say they barely made it out alive.

Thomas and Alice George, along with their three children, were asleep when the fire broke out around 6 a.m. Monday morning.

“All I heard was the sound of pebbles on the window,” said Thomas.

“That’s what I first heard. I looked into the garage and I seen smoke coming from the floor, coming up, and that’s when I yelled 'fire!' to my wife.”

The pair managed to get their kids safely outside, but lost everything in the fire.

“From the time I seen the smoke to the time we got out, maybe two minutes later, the whole garage was engulfed. And I just seen the wreckage, of what’s left of our van, and this is what’s left of our house,” explains George, as he gestures towards the charred remains of the house on Main Street.

The only thing going through Alice’s mind as the family scrambled together was ensuring her children’s safety.

“My kids are the most important. I just woke them up and put them under a blanket and rushed them out the door. That’s all I could do.”

They are thankful for the community support already shown to them, but recognize some things cannot be replaced like pictures and memories.

“We didn’t have fire insurance. You don’t expect something like this to happen,” remarked Alice.

The couple was renting the house and say they are still in shock about what to do next, but will take things one day at a time.

“For the first couple hours, we couldn’t think of what to do first,” said Alice.

“It’s a horrible feeling. I don’t wish it upon anybody. I’m just thankful for my family and those that are supporting us. It’s unbelievable.”

Thomas agrees.

“We have to start all over, and we’ll get through it one day at a time.”

The family believes the fire started in the back of the garage, but are not sure how it started.

Oliver fire crews, along with the RCMP are continuing their investigation.

-- With files from Trevor Rockliffe

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